If it was ever even in question, this year is just a reminder that the SEC runs college football. The Southeastern Conference remains the best conference in football and seems to only be getting more competitive and better.
While last week’s Tennessee win over Alabama was a blow to the Crimson Tide, it opened up the SEC to make some college football history. The SEC has a shot to become the first conference in NCAA history to send three teams to the College Football Playoff.
How can three SEC teams make the playoff? And will it happen? We break down playoff odds from Sportsbook below to find out.
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Which SEC Teams Are Still In Playoff Contention?
|Alabama Crimson Tide
|Ole Miss Rebels
Odds as of October 19 at Sportsbook
How Can Three SEC Teams Make The Playoff?
Though it may seem like a very narrow window to dance three SEC teams into the ’23 College Football Playoff, it’s actually not that complicated. The Ole Miss Rebels are probably out of the equation, as if they win out, the SEC will be thrown into shambles. That leaves Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia as the SEC’s three best bets.
Here’s how they can all finish with one loss and have a great shot at the playoff:
Simple enough, right? The key here is that all three of the top SEC teams (sorry, Ole Miss) end up with one loss. Alabama and Georgia are likely shoo-ins for the playoff, in this situation. Tennessee will then have to go up against some other one-loss teams in other conferences to snag the fourth spot in the playoff. But the Vols will have the best win in the country in their corner, beating Alabama last week.
What Teams Can Spoil the SEC Party?
Even if the above path to three SEC teams plays out perfectly, and Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia all finish with one loss, there are two teams that realistically can finish with a perfect record and bump one of the SEC squads out of the playoff:
The UCLA Bruins are the last team in the Pac-12 without a loss. With compelling wins over Utah and Washington, the Bruins will be hard to keep out of the postseason if they run the table. However, Chip Kelly’s boys have some tough games left against Oregon, USC and whoever they’d meet in the conference championship.
Assuming one of Michigan or Ohio State – whichever team wins the Big Ten – will make it to the playoff, that leaves Clemson as the SEC’s next biggest obstacle to three teams in the playoff. The Tigers are currently unbeaten and have a pretty easy schedule remaining, with winnable games against Notre Dame and Syracuse likely the biggest challenge.
Will Three SEC Teams Make The Playoff?
So, the path exists for three SEC teams to make the postseason, we know that. But will it happen?
Oddsmakers over at Sportsbook are confident that at least two SEC teams will make the playoff this year, with OVER 1.5 teams at -180 odds, implying a 64.29 percent chance according to our odds calculator.
The difficulty comes from that third team. A lot has to go right for all three top SEC teams to end up with exactly one loss and no other team to finish undefeated. But that’s why they play the games.