Potential College Football Playoff Snub: The Scenario Where Georgia and Alabama from SEC Could Be Left Out

Advertisement

Alabama and Georgia stand as the undisputed titans of the College Football Playoff era, boasting remarkable success within the past nine years. Their dominance is highlighted by a collective tally of five national championships, coupled with two monumental clashes in the CFP championship game. Now, the highly anticipated showdown looms as the undefeated No. 1 Georgia faces off against No. 8 Alabama in the forthcoming SEC championship game at the illustrious Mercedes Benz Stadium. This matchup not only signifies a clash between powerhouse teams but also serves as another chapter in the ongoing coaching rivalry between Nick Saban and Kirby Smart.

The victor of this epic encounter is poised to emerge as the frontrunner for the coveted national championship. Amidst this backdrop, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey seemingly enjoys an enviable position, but there exists an underlying concern. While his role might appear straightforward, there lies a potential challenge—advocating for the SEC’s inclusion in the College Football Playoff. Despite the SEC’s historical strength, there exists a plausible scenario where the conference might face exclusion from the final four-team Playoff roster. Let’s delve into that prospect.

As the conference championship weekend approaches, eight formidable teams enter the fray boasting either an impeccable record or just a single loss. Here’s a closer look at these powerhouse contenders:

Advertisement

RANK TEAM RECORD
1 Georgia 12-0
2 Michigan 12-0
3 Washington 12-0
4 Florida State 12-0
5 Oregon 11-1
6 Ohio State 11-1
7 Texas 11-1
8 Alabama 11-1

The competitive landscape paints a picture of intense competition and a razor-thin margin for error, where even the slightest misstep could potentially jeopardize the SEC’s representation in the College Football Playoff for the 2023 season.

If Alabama and Texas both secure victories, the SEC faces a challenging scenario where creative arguments need to be crafted by Greg Sankey and Nick Saban to bolster their case. Despite Alabama potentially pointing to impressive victories against ranked opponents like LSU, Ole Miss, and Tennessee, as well as highlighting Jalen Milroe’s improved performance in the latter part of the season, the pivotal question arises: How does Alabama overcome Texas’ direct head-to-head win against them?

While Alabama’s success against other top teams and potential alterations in ESPN’s Football Power Index rankings due to a win against Georgia could factor in, the Longhorns could assert their claim based on their on-field victory in Alabama. If the Playoff Committee doesn’t give substantial weight to head-to-head results, the essence of on-field competition could be questioned.

In such a scenario, Texas might hold the edge in the argument against Alabama, placing the Crimson Tide in a precarious position. Considering the circumstances, Alabama might consider focusing attention on a different contender, possibly targeting Florida State, who despite an unblemished record, faces challenges with a backup quarterback against Louisville.

The SEC’s historical dominance in the College Football Playoff is undeniable. Since its establishment in 2014, the SEC has consistently placed a team in the Playoff every year. Alabama, with an impressive seven Playoff appearances, six championship game appearances, and three national titles, along with Georgia’s notable track record of three Playoff appearances, three championship game appearances, and two national titles, highlight the conference’s prowess. Notably, the two powerhouses, Alabama and Georgia, clashed twice in the CFP championship game, underscoring the SEC’s prominence.

Despite the SEC’s historical success, the unlikely event of both Georgia and Alabama missing the College Football Playoff isn’t entirely implausible. ESPN’s Playoff Predictor suggests a 7% chance of this scenario occurring. The odds might further shift if Oregon, favored in their upcoming game against Washington, clinches a victory. In such a case, Oregon could enter the conversation among one-loss teams, potentially leaving Alabama on the outside looking in.

However, Georgia has the power to shut down this discussion altogether by triumphing over Alabama and extending their winning streak to 30 games. Such a victory would solidify Georgia’s position and eliminate any speculation about the SEC’s teams missing out on the Playoff.