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Three SEC teams in the Playoff? Exploring college football’s doomsday scenario

Three SEC teams in the Playoff? Exploring college football's doomsday scenario 1

The SEC is the one convention to ever put two groups in the identical four-team School Soccer Playoff.

Is there room for another?

After two weeks, No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 Georgia and No. four LSU occupy three of the highest 4 spots within the AP Prime 25 and would probably be in the identical spots if the primary School Soccer Playoff rankings have been launched this week. If we’re speaking 4 highest groups, these three could make that argument proper now behind No. 1 Clemson, the defending nationwide champion.

MORE: Kirk Herbstreit talks Playoff for LSU, Oklahoma, Ohio State

“The committee is told to pick the best four teams, not the most-deserving, not the best conference champions out of the Power 5,” “ESPN College GameDay” analyst Kirk Herbstreit informed Sporting Information. “The perfect 4. You possibly can disagree with all of them day, so with that in thoughts I don’t suppose they might politically, regardless that they don’t need to admit it, put three groups in from one convention.

Herbstreit is true. However, only for the sake of doomsday state of affairs, let’s have a look at how the SEC might place three groups on this 12 months’s Playoff.

The way it might occur

The trail isn’t as difficult as you would possibly suppose, realizing the place we stand after two weeks. Let’s assume the Group of 5, Notre Dame and the Pac-12 are out of competition by November. That’s not that tough to think about. After that, the belief is Clemson goes undefeated and clinches one spot; Texas wins the Large 12 both with one loss or — even higher — two losses; and the Large Ten champion additionally has two losses.

Now let’s get to it. LSU and Alabama stay undefeated till their showdown on Nov. 9 in Tuscaloosa in what might be a “Recreation of the Century” candidate if Clemson loses earlier than that. What would the stakes be?

“I suppose whoever wins the LSU-Alabama sport doubtlessly eliminates the opposite staff, after which I suppose you would doubtlessly have two relying on how issues shake out,” Herbstreit mentioned.

Let’s say the sport lives as much as the hype and is the other of the 9-6 slugfest these groups performed as No. 1 and No. 2 in 2011. It’s an all-out shootout between Tua Tagovailoa and Joe Burrow, and it’s determined in time beyond regulation. The winner goes 12-Zero and beats 12-0 Georgia — who has wins towards Notre Dame, Florida, Auburn and Texas A&M ± within the SEC championship sport. That’s additionally a traditional, and Alabama or LSU wins by a area objective.

“If that occurred once more, you would possibly see with Georgia get in with one loss if they’re sitting there,” Herbstreit mentioned.

So, you’d have Alabama or LSU at 13-0, Georgia at 12-1 and Alabama or LSU at 11-1. At that time they might most likely all nonetheless be ranked within the high 5. So far, no two-loss staff — convention champion or no — has made the Playoff. Would that be sufficient for 3 SEC groups to make it?

MORE: Joe Burrow and LSU give SEC good have a look at a number of groups in Playoff

Why it gained’t occur

First off, we’re solely two weeks into the season and Nick Saban, Ed Orgeron or Kirby Good aren’t even going to listen to of that state of affairs as a result of it’s most likely not going to occur.

Once more: We’re simply two weeks into the season.

“I imply proper now you may’t think about that, however you understand from following the game how rapidly issues can change,” Herbstreit said. “I don’t need to sit right here two weeks and never admit that accidents occur on this sport. Issues occur. That’s what makes this sport so nice and so totally different.”

The dangers of placing three groups in the identical convention within the School Soccer Playoff are apparent, too. That may alienate Notre Dame and not less than three of the Energy 5 conferences, catapulting the eight-team Playoff speak into the forefront of this 12 months’s semifinals and championship sport (which occurs to be within the coronary heart of SEC nation on the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans).

The SEC dominoes additionally should fall excellent for all three groups to have one loss or fewer. Georgia’s loss at LSU final season is proof that it simply doesn’t occur like that. Two groups? Perhaps. In all probability, even.

However three groups? You’re asking an excessive amount of.

MORE: Week Three Playoff outlook

…However what if it did?

By way of two weeks, there is a clear separation between the highest six groups within the nation — which incorporates No. 5 Oklahoma and No. 6 Ohio State — and the remainder of the FBS area.

Clemson, Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma and Ohio State have mixed for 15 of the 20 Playoff appearances, and LSU appears to be the closest to interrupt by means of subsequent, given the early-season play of Joe Burrow. It’s additionally value noting the SEC has half of the top-10 groups, with No. eight Auburn and No. 9 Florida. No. 7 Notre Dame and No. 10 Michigan spherical out the highest 10, and No. 12 Texas is the highest-ranked one-loss staff.

The query is whether or not anyone exterior of that high six can break by means of.

“I don’t need to say it’s these six and no one else goes to get in there as a result of there’s some potential from these different groups on the market,” Herbstreit mentioned.

However the longer it’s simply these six, the higher likelihood there’s for 2 or three SEC groups to make the Playoff. Large Ten champion Ohio State was disregarded with one loss final season. The Sooners have made the Playoff three of the final 4 seasons, however they’ve additionally misplaced two of these three video games to SEC faculties.

Bear in mind, it’s in regards to the 4 “highest” groups. The one comparable time that is occurred in sports activities was within the 1985 NCAA Match when Villanova, Georgetown and St. John’s all made the Last 4 within the first 12 months of the expanded bracket period.

The distinction right here is the groups get picked, and the committee has proven a bent to do issues its manner.

“Theoretically followers get annoyed that it’s a must to be a convention champion and all that,” Herbstreit said. “That has nothing to do with it. The one factor convention champions is meant to have an effect on is similar factor head-to-head is meant to have an effect on. The identical factor nonconference scheduling is meant to have an effect on. When you have a grouping of two, three or 4 groups the committee can’t separate, these three issues are inbuilt as difference-makers.”

Politically, it gained’t occur except these SEC groups separate themselves completely from everyone else.

However, if the primary two weeks are any indication — and the polls agree with it — then that’s already taking place.


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