By: JJ Lanier
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
At this point in the season it is almost a foregone conclusion that Alabama and Georgia will meet up not only for the SEC Championship title game, but will enter that game as the first and second ranked teams in college football.
If that scenario were to play out obviously the winner would make it to the playoffs. The more interesting topic to me is would a 1-loss SEC runner-up make it too?
There are probably about 20 different hypothetical outcomes, but for this purpose I’ll go ahead and put Oklahoma in the playoffs (wins out including Big XII championship) and Alabama. (No disrespect to Georgia who could easily win the SEC, but it’s easier to go over scenarios for one SEC team as opposed to two, and as of today I personally think Alabama is the better team).
So, with two teams already in the playoff picture, who are some of the other teams Georgia would be contending with.
Wisconsin– It would be hard on paper to leave out an undefeated Big Ten champion, if that’s what ends up happening. However, I don’t think the Badgers are very good and their best win will be against,ultimately, a 3 loss Ohio State team.
Regardless of what the committee does, you can’t convince me they are better than Georgia.
Clemson– If the Tigers were to win out and take the ACC crown, they’re in no matter what. Defending champs, conference champs, impressive resumé, only 1 loss; there’s no way the committee will keep them out.
Another loss though, and I don’t see how they make it.
Miami- I haven’t thought all that much of the Hurricanes throughout the season, but if they were to win out that would include victories over Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, and Clemson.
Hard to put Georgia in over Miami if that were take place. (On a side note, if Miami made it in over Georgia what’s the over/under on the amount time elapsed before a video of Mark Richt urinating in a stuffed Uga goes viral?)
Notre Dame- The Fighting Irish are really the wild card here.
If they were to win out, it would include a victory over Miami, essentially knocking out the Hurricanes.
It would also leave them tied with Georgia, leading to the question, “What do you value more, head to head or overall strength of schedule?”
If you’re a Bulldog fan, you’re going to say head to head, as you should. If you’re a Notre Dame fan, it’s overall strength of schedule. And while it’s not completely an apples to apples comparison, it is worth mentioning that last year, when it came down to OSU and PSU, the commute went in favor of Ohio State’s overall schedule instead of Penn State’s victory over the Buckeyes.
As I mentioned above there are plenty of other scenarios that could play out over the next few makes, making what I just wrote entirely obsolete.
Regardless, here’s the point I’m trying to make: In the last few years, you could argue that a one loss, SEC runner up was deserving of making the playoffs because of the conference’s overall strength.
Ironically, the one year it may come to fruition, the one year where the two best teams in college football could possibly reside within the SEC, is the one year that the conference’s lack of overall strength may be what keeps it from happening.