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SEC Still Has Five Teams In BCS Top Eight; No League At More Risk With Move To Playoff

Of all the conference commissioners who decided last January that they wanted a playoff — as soon as they witnessed an all-SEC BCS title game — we’ve never figured out why Mike Slive is in favor of such a set-up.  We know that the SEC’s pro-playoff stance was forged when undefeated Auburn was left out of the BCS Championship Game after the 2004 season.  We know that a playoff will bring in millions upon millions for everyone and that a good chunk of Slive’s job is to rake money into the coffers of his league and its schools.

But we also know the SEC absolutely dominates in the current BCS system.  With computers involved, Slive’s league always gets respect.  Need proof?  How ’bout the fact that with a month to go in the season, five of the top eight teams in the latest BCS standings are from the Southeastern Conference:


1.  Alabama

2.  Kansas State

3.  Notre Dame

4.  Oregon

5.  LSU

6.  Georgia

7.  Florida

8.  South Carolina

9.  Florida State

10.  Louisville


Not too shabby.  Toss in Mississippi State and Texas A&M at #15 and #16 respectively and that’s half the SEC ranked among the 16 best teams in America.

We’re not anti-playoff here at, but we sure hope people realize the risk the SEC is taking in going from a computer-enhanced BCS system to a very human selection committee.  In the current system, it’s hard to imagine an SEC squad — or two — not making the title game every year.  In the system to come — with a few panelists perhaps wanting to spread the wealth — it’s hard to imagine the league even getting two teams into a final football four.

We won’t know that for sure, of course, for a couple more years.  But we do know that the SEC thrives in the current system.  There’s no debate over that fact.



Yeah, but being the best of 4 is more satisfying than being the best of 2 and there'll be less squawking.


I'm not sure I get the logic of the Georgia, Florida, SC order.  FL beat SC by a lot.  SC beat GA by a lot.  GA beat FL by a little.  Seems to me that should favor Florida.  Coincidentally, that's the way the computers have Florida on top despite not factoring point spread.  The humans have Georgia highest.


 @10Vol85 Florida also beat LSU so it does make sense that they would be the highest ranked of those 4.




so, would the SEC be better served with an 8 team playoff?


Well, it seems to me the new system can only hurt the best Conference ... not help. Its no accident the other conferences were preaching the "conference champion" model. What a slap in the face of other conferences when the #2 team in the SEC gets selected for the championship game ahead of their own conference champion. But, as you say, we will see in 2 years.


People said the same sorts of things about the SEC Championship game, but it was begun in the belief that the cream would rise to the top, no matter how many times that cream is asked to prove it and no matter what shape that format takes.  If the SEC is truly better, and I believe it is, it will show.  I understand the politics of keeping teams out, but think about this - the SEC has singlehandedly given college football a playoff.  It goes far beyond the LSU-Alabama Sugar Bowl.  Conference title games are essentially the first round, now leading to the second and third rounds.  A four-team playoff is actually a twelve or fourteen team deal with several play-in games.  Like it or not, the BCS with conference title games is much closer to a true playoff than it is to the old bowl/poll system.  It is in this scenario that the SEC has shined.  If the SEC is the cream, it will rise.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator 1 Like



Thanks for reading, but I think you're missing my point.


The SEC Championship Game was an extra step to a national crown, yes, but it actually furthered the league's perceived strength nationally.  We've said the same thing about the SEC going to a nine-game conference slate.  That wouldn't hurt the league, it would likely help it if those games replaced the Jacksonville States and Presbyterians of the world.


The playoff, however, will feature a selection panel made up of people from across the nation, across many conferences.  Those conferences all jumped on the playoff bandwagon and pushed for a selection committee the instant two teams from the same league reached the BCS title game.  There's a reason for that.  


I'm not saying the playoff will damage the SEC's title hopes because it will require a team to win an extra semifinal game.  I'm saying the SEC's odds of landing a team in the finals will drop when humans are making the choices and computers are no longer a built-in component.  Many a conference president has already stated that league champs should get extra love at selection time.  If that comes to pass, then the odds of a runner-up from a league -- like the SEC -- making the four-team field are going to be slim.


A lot can happen in a month and it's possible the SEC won't have a team in the top two of this year's BCS at year's end.  But it's probably more likely the league will field teams #1 and #2 again.  In a four-team playoff, an SEC non-champ could conceivably be left at the altar in favor of three league champions from elsewhere.


Instead of a four-team playoff upping the SEC's title hopes, I believe the league's hopes will drop... if the commissioners decide on their selection committee as they've said they would.


We'll see in two years.


Thanks for reading,


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