Alabama Just Upset Georgia. So Who Makes the College Football Playoff?
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images. Pictured: Malachi Moore #13 of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts after a missed field goal during the second quarter against the Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC Championship.
Despite entering the final weekend with the nation’s top-ranked team (Georgia) and five of the nation’s top 13 ranked teams, the SEC could miss the College Football Playoff for the first time in its 10-year history and not play for the national title for the only the second time since 2005.
With No. 8 Alabama’s upset of No. 1 Georgia, the SEC will spend some anxious moments until the College Football Playoff field is announced Sunday at noon ET. That’s because if No. 2 Michigan wins the Big Ten title and No. 4 Florida State wins the ACC Saturday night, they would join No. 3 Washington as 13-0 conference champions.
Although critics of Florida State believe the Seminoles, who lost starting quarterback Jordan Travis, should not be included because the Seminoles aren’t a top four team without Travis.
In the 10-year history of the College Football Playoff, an undefeated Power 5 team has never been left out of the playoff.
College Football Playoff Odds
(Editor's note: As of midnight ET on Saturday night/Sunday morning, odds to make the college football playoff are off the board at the major sportsbooks. However, the odds to win the national title have a clear top four of Michigan, Texas, Washington and Alabama.)
|Odds to Win the National Title
If FSU & Michigan wins, who joins Michigan & Washington in playoff?
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) December 3, 2023
In the previous nine years of the playoff, no team ranked lower than No. 6 going into the conference championship weekend has ever made the playoff and a No. 1 team in the penultimate rankings has ever missed the playoffs.
The question is: does the committee value Texas’ head-to-head win over Alabama more than the Tide’s SEC championship? What about Georgia? The Bulldogs also are 12-1 and are the two-time defending champion.
There isn’t a correct answer, just whatever the 13-person selection committee believes.
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey started campaigning Saturday morning that his league should be in the playoff, if Georgia lost. Sankey was asked about a playoff without the SEC.
“That's not the real world of college football,” Sankey said on College GameDay. “Let's go back to Sesame Street to make it real basic, because one of these things is not like the other, and that is the Southeastern Conference. We have five of the top-15 teams.
“We stand alone this year regardless of (Saturday’s) outcome. There’s an opportunity in front of the committee, to acknowledge, depending on the outcome two of the best four teams are from the SEC.”
Earlier this week, Alabama coach Nick Saban also – not surprisingly – said the SEC should be in the playoff.
“There should be some representation from the SEC regardless of who wins (the SEC title game), absolutely," Saban said. “I think this is one of best leagues in the country. If you're a one-loss team and you played through (the SEC), I think you're one of the best four teams in the country.”