The Path to the College Football Playoff: Win out, be the No. 1 seed in the whole thing. Go 12-1, still get in. Get 12-1 with an SEC Championship loss, still get in. Go 11-1 with a loss to, say, LSU on the road, still get in. The committee is putting this team in.
What Will Happen: No, really. The committee is putting this team in. The only way the Tide aren’t in is with two losses, and that’s not happening – at least in the regular season.
The Path to the College Football Playoff: Win out, get in as the No. 3 seed at absolute worst – if Kentucky loses again. Any loss knocks the Gators out, unless they somehow get to the SEC Championship at 10-2 and stun Alabama. Then it gets interesting.
What Will Happen: They really are that good. They’re going to lose to a jacked up Georgia, but if they get by the Dawgs, they’re home free to the SEC Championship. They’re not losing at home to Missouri or South Carolina, or on the road at Florida State.
The Path to the College Football Playoff: It’s okay … everything is fine. It wasn’t a loss to the SEC East; losing to LSU is okay … everything is fine. Really. Maybe. The Dawgs can’t afford another loss now. They have to win out to get in.
What Will Happen: It would’ve been nice if they got to the SEC Championship game at 12-0 – they’d have then been in no matter what. But they’ll slip by Florida, get to Atlanta at 11-1, and lose to Alabama to get knocked out.
The Path to the College Football Playoff: The SEC Championship and the College Football Playoff are all there for the taking. Run the table, get in no matter what.
What Will Happen: They’re not going to get by Georgia, but if they do … look out. They’ll win at Missouri and take down the rest of the SEC games, but they’ll lose once more. On the plus side, they’ll right there in the mix for a New Year’s Six game.
The Path to the College Football Playoff: Wow. Just … wow. Now, with the blowout win over LSU, this could become very, very interesting on a Four Best Team theory. If they win four of their last five gams, but the one loss is a close call to flaming No. 1 CFP seed Alabama, there’s an outside chance it get considered to be in at 10-2. But realistically, it’ll take a win over the Tide to get in. Get into the SEC Championship at 11-1, and they’re going to be right there.
What Will Happen: It’s asking way, way, way too much to beat Mississippi State, Alabama, win at Texas A&M, and even if everything breaks right, beat Georgia again or Florida – or even Kentucky – in the SEC Championship. They’ll get a New Year’s Six bowl.