SEC’s biggest contenders for the 2014 College Football Playoff

Screen-shot-2014-04-05-at-10.31.28-AM

Playoffs?! We’re talking about playoffs?!

Indeed we are, and 2014 turns a new page in college football history by ushering in the new four-team playoff, which will essentially be a beauty pageant for the selection committee. You thought there was uproar and speculation before the playoff. Just wait until the committee starts ranking the country’s top teams.

RELATED: Under-the-radar College Football Playoff final four 

ESPN recently listed 16 contenders for the 2014 College Football Playoff, and among the 16, six were from the SEC:

  • Alabama Crimson Tide
  • Auburn Tigers
  • Georgia Bulldogs
  • LSU Tigers
  • South Carolina Gamecocks
  • Texas A&M Aggies

Others:

  • Baylor Bears (Big 12)
  • Clemson Tigers (ACC)
  • Florida State Seminoles (ACC)
  • Michigan State Spartans (Big Ten)
  • Ohio State Buckeyes (Big Ten)
  • Oklahoma Sooners (Big 12)
  • Oregon Ducks (Pac-12)
  • Stanford Cardinal (Pac-12)
  • UCLA Bruins (Pac-12)
  • Wisconsin Badgers (Big Ten)

Few takeaways:

  • Of the six SEC teams listed, Texas A&M – to me – is the biggest pretender of the bunch. Alabama, Auburn, Georgia and South Carolina are the favorite four. LSU always recruits top talent and has a stacked depth chart, but several players have to be replaced.
  • With respect to Texas A&M, losing Johnny Manziel and Mike Evans is a big blow, and labeling Texas A&M one of the 16 biggest contenders in college football is taking a massive assumption that a young – but talented – defense is ready for the big stage. I’m just not there yet.
  • Missouri is another SEC team that comes to mind as a contender. If you label Texas A&M a contender, you have to label Missouri a contender. The Tigers have more proven weapons and a better and more proven defensive line.
  • One dark-horse contender for me would be Florida. The Gators return loads of talent and finally look to have an offense that can score 26-plus points per game.

COMMENTS

You must be logged in to post a comment. Please sign in or register

  • A&M’s definitely the biggest question mark for me. Manziel was phenomenal, and they basically lived and died by his performances a lot of times. Losing two other first round picks isn’t exactly comforting either. Defense was terrible, and losing those three offensive superstars is a big blow. They have a great freshmen group, but I just don’t know how you replace that production.

  • I’m sorry but even being a MSU I would p0ut ole miss there way before I would put A&M up there. I find it real hard to see them beating any of the Mississippi schools. Im not saying because I’m a fan of state but they dont have the play makers( Manziel and Evans) and we dont what their D# is going to be like this year! I know it has to be better than last year. I’m thinking 4-5 wins for them.

  • I think you can take A&M, South Carolina & Auburn off as they will all lose at least 2 games. Probably Georgia too.

    • Georgia loses to SCAR and maybe Auburn, can’t see any other losses. Pretty favorable schedule.

      • Not sure about that Andy. Georgia travels to the other Columbia (Mizzou) this year. I know that they will be healthier than they were last year but being they will be at Mizzou, I wouldn’t easily count that as a win.

    • TimH1955, you’ve got a QB who hasn’t even played a down in the SEC!!! Don’t put the cart before the horse bud… You’re defense is solid but you lost a lot of talent with HaHA and the last two years in a row Saban has lost Antonio Conner and C.J. Hampton against Ole Miss. Both guys he wanted very very badly if my memory serves me correctly… This isn’t Bama’s year. Not by a longshot…

    • Never believe what a rival says about the other team. Big time Alabama fan definitely hoping Auburn loses at least two games. The only problem is that Auburn didn’t graduate a ton of guys either. And speaking about upcoming years, they look like they will have considerable offensive depth. Especially with the Ole Miss OL transfer. Could prove to be another interesting bunch.

  • “Andy” says, “Georgia loses to SCAR and maybe Auburn…”, The Dawgs won’t lose to either, not to say there won’t be a loss, but not to these two.

  • Should replace A&M with Mizzo.

  • Losing one game will probably not eliminate an SEC program because the SEC is on track to have as many as 3 teams per division ranked in the top 10. That’s the biggest advantage to being a member of this league. We know who the top of the depth chart was last year. So can we eliminate any of the mentioned based on who we think the depth chart will feature this year? I’ll review Missouri first, then I welcome anyone to do the same for the other candidates: quarterbacks will be better, backs will be more diversified, receivers will be better catchers, o-line will be better, d-line will be about the same slightly different nature because of one big stopper, linebackers have a chance to be better if they shared the responsibility more than last year, safeties, and corners have to get better but show signs of doing this

    • While I am not so naive to believe that Mizzou will win all of their games, I am also not so clueless to think that they don’t belong on this list. Many things have transpired since last season ended. But all in all, I see Mizzou as being one team who all the traditionally favored SEC east teams must be and should be concerned about. At one point I felt that maybe this year they would garner the respect that they were due; however, I still see by reading comments and articles that it was only a dream. I can’t wait to see how many more people Mizzou will make believers this fall.

      • Your ideas are shared by a lot more Missouri followers. Keep this in mind. Missouri has a a long and consistent history of being a division title contender under Pinkel. In 2011 Missouri lost several very close games but still finished in the top third of a very good Big 12 that year. They totally dismantled one of the best offenses in the ACC in the bowl game. You could not tell the UNC had a single NFL pro prospect on the field, much less a half dozen. Missouri could have scored 60 points easy in that game. Moving forward to 2012, Missouri beat Arizona State, was ahead of GA near the end of three quarters, went 14-7 with Florida, and they did that with 8 linemen missing all or part of the season, #1 quarterback never played a healthy snap the whole year, All-Big 12 Josey never played a single snap. 2013 showed that even with more than one unit on the team being less than National Championship quality, Missouri could still contend for a National Championship. We need to realize how significant this really is? Missouri has pass catchers this year, that’s better than being long and tall. The lines will be at least as good. Henson knows his running backs and will not put a lesser running attack on the field. Franklin was a low mistake type, but Mauk will be a wilder faster defense killer. I’m seeing some signs that Missouri is finally making some progress at pass defense, and I think the linebackers as a unit know they all have to be more Wilson-like. I’m confident that Missouri will be a top ten quality program again next year, BUT i believe Tennessee, SC, MissState, AL, GA, aTm, and LSU, and Auburn will also be top ten programs. The smallest differences in quality will determine who winds up ranked #1 and who winds up ranked #10