The Path to the College Football Playoff: Win out. Or don’t. The College Football Playoff committee loves itself some Alabama, and why not? As long as the Crimson Tide don’t lose twice along the way, they’re in.
Lose the SEC Championship? Whatever. Lose to Auburn? Did that last year. They can lose to LSU and still get in. They can be 11-1 and be in the four … maybe.
If Ohio State, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, and the SEC Champion are all unbeaten, it’ll be a really, really tough argument to still get the Tide in, even though it’s one of the unquestioned best teams this year.
What Will Happen: Bama will win the SEC Championship and get in as the No. 1 seed.
The Path to the College Football Playoff: Win out, and there’s an interesting theoretical argument no matter what else happens.
If the Tigers go 11-1 – with that one loss a close 22-21 fight against LSU – by beating Georgia and Alabama on the road, and if Washington wins the Pac-12 title and goes 12-1, it’ll be a tough, tough call to keep them out. Even if they don’t win the SEC Championship, find a better resume.
They’ll need help with most of the Power Five champions to have two losses or more, but if they win out, they can get close.
What Will Happen: They’re very, very good, but they’re not beating both Georgia and Alabama on the road.
The Path to the College Football Playoff: As long as it wins out, it should be in. The only barrier? If Kentucky doesn’t lose twice. The Gators wouldn’t get the Alabama love of last year if they go 11-1 and don’t get to the SEC Championship. But if UK loses two times – and it probably will – and UF beats LSU, Georgia, and South Carolina before shocking Alabama in the SEC Championship, then it’s in.
What Will Happen: Don’t be stunned if the Gators pull off something special against Georgia or LSU, but it won’t be both of them. They won’t get in with two losses, even as the SEC champ.
The Path to the College Football Playoff: Win out, be the No. 1 seed in the Orange Bowl. Or, get to the SEC Championship at 12-0, lose to Alabama, and it’ll still likely get in over a one-loss Power Five champion, and definitely over a two-loss champ. However, go 11-2 with close losses to, say, LSU on the road and to Bama in the SEC Championship, and no.
What Will Happen: The Dawgs will slip past LSU in a fight, get to the SEC Championship at 12-0, and be in the CFP no matter what happens against Alabama.
The Path to the College Football Playoff: It seems insane to think this, but it’s true. Win out and be … the No. 1 seed in the College Football Playoff?
The schedule isn’t that bad considering there’s no Alabama, Auburn or LSU to face in the regular season. If UK wins at Texas A&M and beats Georgia at home, then not only will there be a shot to win the SEC Championship and go to the CFP, but if it magically goes 12-0, in the same way Georgia would likely get in if it loses to an unbeaten Bama, yeah, flip that to UK.
What Will Happen: The Wildcats are having a great season that will continue, but they’ll lose at Texas A&M and to Georgia.
The Path to the College Football Playoff: If this amazing run continues and LSU goes unbeaten, it’s probably the most deserving No. 1 seed ever. If it goes 12-0 and loses to Georgia in a rematch of the regular season battle in the SEC Championship, done deal … in. And why?
If LSU goes 12-1 with an SEC title game loss, it’ll have beaten Miami, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Texas A&M.
What Will Happen: It’ll lose twice against the most brutally unfair schedule in college football. It’ll have the chops to take down Georgia, Alabama, Florida or Texas A&M, but not all of them.
The Path to the College Football Playoff: Win out, hope for two Georgia losses, and then come up with a win in the SEC Championship. No biggie – just beat South Carolina, Alabama, and Florida on the road along the way, and beat Kentucky, too.
What Will Happen: The Tigers are strong, and the Georgia game is out of the way, but they’re not beating Bama, Florida and South Carolina away from Faurot Field.