Jake Crain of Crain & Company believes that the decision by the College Football Playoff Selection Committee to have Missouri ranked above LSU in the Week 10 release of the first College Football Playoff rankings is “telling” and is a bellwether for where to expect one-loss teams in the rankings relative to two-loss teams; while offering a doomsday scenario for the SEC in the final season of a four-team CFP field before it expands to 12 in 2024.
“Missouri being put in over LSU is telling,” Crain prefaced before saying, “Maybe shows committee will lean one less loss over head to head which means: 2 loss SEC champ could miss out even if Michigan or Ohio State has one loss and doesn’t win (the) conference.”
As of Week 10, the SEC has four teams essentially still in the field: an undefeated and two-time reigning, defending champion Georgia, a one-loss Alabama, a one-loss Ole Miss, and a one-loss Mizzou — the latter of whom took their loss to LSU at home in a 49-39 shootout on October 7 in Columbia, Missouri.
After four straight championships — two straight by Georgia in 2021 and 2022, an Alabama title during the pandemic-stricken shortened season in 2020, and LSU in 2019 — the SEC could be in danger of being out of the mix before the College Football Playoff even begins if enough chaos happens. Particularly if LSU beats Alabama, Tennessee beats Georgia, and the SEC West winner beats Georgia in the title game. The sport has never seen an SEC-less field since the CFP’s inception in 2014-15.
SEC and Pac-12 both have six teams in the first College Football Playoff rankings
The SEC is not the consensus top dog in the country any longer, with the Big Ten featuring two of the top three teams in the country the past two seasons and the Pac-12 going out in style with Heisman candidates all over the conference.
Still, the SEC is tied with the Pac-12 for the most teams in Week 10’s inaugural 2023 College Football Playoff rankings; proving that even in a down year, the Just Means More conference will always be in the mix for the crown.