College Football Playoff Controversy Starts in the SEC West


Jul 14, 2014; Hoover, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers head coach Gus Malzahn talks to the media during the SEC Football Media Days at the Wynfrey Hotel. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

When a committee member looks to select a team for the 2014 College Football Playoff the SEC will have a representative. It is almost assumed at this point whoever makes it out alive will be in.

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The oh-so popular ESPN commercial about who will have a shot to be “In” has a great focus. Primarily, every team in the SEC West still has a shot to make it. All teams excluding Arkansas are ranked in both the AP and coaches polls. If the Hogs were to upset Texas A&M this weekend, they would have the opportunity to break into the top 25. On a side note, I think that this game in particular will be the closest matchup of this coming week.

But in regards to the upcoming playoff, what happens if the top two teams are in conference?  Every team in the top five thus far has displayed various strengths that have allowed them to remain in their respected spots. At the same time, this past week has shown us that every team is beatable.

Florida State, Alabama, Oregon, Oklahoma, and Auburn all had gut checks in their on field performances. Some of the teams listed may have won by a large margin in the end, but the game film will show every missed assignment. Specifically, many have said that that the Auburn vs. Kansas State film will be the key for in conference foes to slow down the Tigers rushing attack.

Personally speaking, I believe that if Auburn plays with enough balance that they will be fine through the month of October. If both Alabama and Auburn are undefeated at this point, this game will have the biggest impact to the College Football Playoff of any conference game. It would be almost impossible to project a bigger finish than last year’s finale, but that is not the point of this topic.

If either team loses (and it doesn’t matter who), where will the losing team fall? This is an important question to ask yourself, because of the unknown that still lies in the playoff format.

I think that it is safe to assume that winning the SEC will be a guarantee to reach the playoff, but the East is also the weaker side of the conference. Let’s say that the team that loses the Iron Bowl drops to number four in the selection poll. The score of the game would be a determining factor of where the losing team is placed.

Does that mean that both teams will be in the College Football Playoff?

I can see this becoming a very big issue come the end of the season. This goes for all teams within the SEC West. Alabama and Auburn are just the most likely teams to reach this situation in my eyes.

I would like the selection committee to address this issue, because another repeat of 2011 would just be unfair. Alabama lost to conference opponent LSU in regular season and a rematch of the game was played to determine the 2011 BCS National Championship.

The teams in the conference deserve to have an equal shot at the playoff, but do not deserve to trump any big conference winners that are ranked in the top ten.

If this comes to fruition (again) all Hell will break loose in the college football world. Maybe following in the NCAA Basketball Tournament’s footsteps is not such a bad idea.

If you consider a larger bracket, teams from every conference regardless of top four positioning will have the opportunity to make a trip to the “Big Dance.” Teams from the Mountain West, C-USA, American, and Sun Belt will be able to compete. Money then would not be the only thing these schools receive from power conferences, but respect.

Of course doing this will require a complete change in current format, but all it takes is enough to stir the pot.