I first introduced it last season, but as I watch the SEC devour itself this season, I can’t help but wonder if SEC fans would maybe, just maybe, like to think about the benefits of a playoff where the conference winners advanced to the playoffs regardless of record. strength of schedule and so on.
Mississippi State and Ole Miss may look like the darlings of the SEC West right now, but remember, not only do they still play each other, but State also has a date with Alabama coming, and Ole Miss has dates with Auburn and at LSU too. This race ain’t over, although frankly, there’s also a really good chance Auburn or Bama is going to get hung with a second loss too, before they play each other. In the end, it’s not a real stretch to imagine that the winner of the West could end up a two loss team. And then we have to assume they actually win the championship game, which may be against another 2 or even 3 loss team from the East. Wouldn’t it be something if the SEC wound up with an upset champion, like Georgia, and had to go out and try to claim a spot in the final four with undefeated Florida State sitting out there, and undefeated Baylor, and one-loss Oregon, Michigan State and Notre Dame out there as well? Now, that’s probably not going to be the case, but wouldn’t you feel better knowing that whoever wins the SEC, they’ll advanced to the 10 team playoff, against the other conference champs? Suddenly the regular season clashes that are tremendously exciting already take on so much more meaning, and we can stop worrying about how the preseason polls got it all wrong, but made it easier for some teams to stay ranked highly, and so on.
SEC fans could watch the carnage taking place thanks to the wins being piled up by the state of Mississippi, without the fear that neither of those teams is going to make it out of the regular season with a record impressive enough for the final four. Like I said, I feel like that is probably how they are watching it now, but not evey season is going to be this season. Eventually, some conference is going to consume itself and wind up outside the final four. Let’s fix that now before it happens!