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.
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
- 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)
- 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.