2019 is SEC
Two teams in the playoff?
With unbeaten Florida v unbeaten LSU on the horizon. Let us take a look at the state of the college football playoff. And let us ponder the idea that 2019 will be the year that the SEC gets two teams into the four-team bracket. Who will they be and how will they get there?
The SEC currently has four teams inside the top 10 of the college football rankings and two teams inside the top four. Alabama, Georgia, LSU, and Florida all have cases to be inside those coveted top four spots but currently Alabama and Georgia are the only two SEC teams to be in that elusive top four club. So, who are the contenders, and who are the pretenders?
Florida traveling to Baton Rogue to face the Tigers will tell us a hell of a lot about the validity of this Florida team as a real playoff threat. They go to Death Valley as a -14 dog and LSU has the best resume of any of these teams in the SEC. If the defense can continue improving and Joe Burrow can keep the offense humming, we know what LSU can do. I’m not sure it’s a 14-point game but I cannot imagine LSU dropping this game at home. If they do, they can all but kiss their hopes of a college football playoff berth goodbye.
Georgia is a team that I was, and still am, very high on this season. I love the culture that Kirby Smart has cultivated there and the leadership that Jake Fromm gives them at the quarterback position is second to none. Their toughest test will come late in the season on the road to Auburn. If they can handle their business in the regular season they will need to beat either Alabama or LSU in the conference championship game and I haven’t seen a game where I think they could beat Bama or LSU. So there will need to be massive improvements on both sides of the ball to make me believe they can hang with the giants.
Now the bogeyman of the SEC, Alabama. Who have had maybe the easiest schedule of any team inside the top 25 this season? Their only major test of the regular season will come November 9th at home against LSU. But here’s the truth about that game. If LSU wins out and only loses by 10 or less to Alabama, they will be the 4th team in the CFB playoff. If they were to beat Alabama outright, then they’ll catapult to #1 and Alabama will be haunted by their lack of quality opponents and be on the outside looking in. Which would be a massive shake up in the landscape of the CFB playoff.
So therein lies the truth about the chances of the SEC getting two teams inside the playoff. It would have to be LSU and Alabama. And there’s only one scenario in where it happens. A close loss for LSU November 9th in Tuscaloosa and a one loss LSU team gets in and Alabama coasts in at number one setting up a rematch in the first round.
None of these teams can get ahead of themselves and LSU has a tough test this week against Florida, but one thing is for certain. The SEC is still king, LSU has a legit quarterback now, and everyone is looking forward to November 9th.