A look at hypothetical SEC playoff teams during the BCS era

NCAA Football: BCS National Championship-Florida State vs Auburn

Aaron Brenner of the Post and Courier recently did a hypothetical breakdown of ‘what if’ the College Football Playoff had been in place all along. Go read it.

The breakdown started back in 1936, but let’s take a gander at the results from the BCS era, which started with Tennessee’s 1998 national championship win over Florida State.

RELATED: Ranking the SEC’s best teams during BCS era

Obviously, this is the writer’s opinion, and we have no clue how the 13-member selection committee will react or inherit bias. Nor will we know how they voted, because the committee won’t be as transparent as we want. You thought the BCS was controversial.

There’s so much talk leading into the season about whether the College Football Playoff era will help further the SEC’s dominance by allowing two SEC teams be a part of the four-team playoff. Let’s see how it would have panned out since 1998, as the four teams were finalized by the BCS rankings, via Post and Courier:


Few takeaways:

  • Throughout the 16 years of the BCS era, at least one SEC team would have made the playoffs 13 times, over 81 percent of the time. The only years an SEC team wouldn’t have been in the four-team playoff was 2000, 2001 and 2005.
  • In five years – 2006, 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2013 – the SEC would have had multiple teams in the playoffs.
  • Alabama would have made the playoffs five out of the last six years.
  • 2011’s rematch would have happened anyway, as Alabama and LSU were clearly the two best teams in college football. But I would have loved to have seen the LSU-Stanford and Alabama-Oklahoma State playoff games.

Photo Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports



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  • I don’t care what anyone says, at the end of the year in 2007, UGA had the best team…..

    • Just too bad they lost to a two-loss UT and a South Carolina who would eventually go 6-6.

    • Glad you don’t care what anyone says, cause you are wrong lol.

      • I don’t know if UGA was the best team at the end of 2007, but they would have made the 4 team playoff. These selections here are based on final BCS standings before the bowl were played. UGA was #4 in the next to last week of the season before #1 & #2 lost. Many voters purposely dropped them down on their ballots to keep them out of the NC game because they didn’t win their conference. With a 4 team playoff that wouldn’t have happened.

    • You’ve GOT to be kidding!!! Georgia has been irrelevant since the early 80’s.

      • We have not been relevant since the early 80s ? Or, did you mean we’ve not won a national championship since the early 80s ? Relevant, it would seem, would mean something other than won a national championship that season. Right ? We certainly, according to this blog you took no exception to, lists The University of Georgia as RELEVANT to what would’ve been a 4-team Play-Off participant our UGA Georgia Bulldogs’ 2002 season. All the commenter should’ve said to counteract your RELEVANT point, is that certainly ranked # 3 in the Final AP Poll 2002, is damn relevant and that certainly being ranked # 2 in the Final AP Poll 2007 is damn relevant. Isn’t it ? Maybe you could make the point that # 7 in 2003 and 2004 Final AP Polls is not relevant either year, and you maybe could make the point that # 10 in the Final AP Poll 2005 is not relevant. # 13 Final AP Poll 2008 maybe is not relevant, but we were # 10 in the Coaches’ Poll. And, # 5 in both the Coaches’ Poll 2012 and Final AP Poll 2012, certainly is relevant. Closely connected or appropriate to the matter at hand, is the definition of relevant. Having significant and demonstrable bearing on the matter at hand, making the 4-team play-off 2002 is relevant, sir. All college football fans consider a team relevant when they in fact finish the season in the only published polls for the season, # 2 sir. # 3 also would make any college football team, relevant, as well. # 5 is a Top-5 team. I don’t know where your cut-off is to relevant, but certainly # 2 qualifies. If you wanted to say, 54-26 the most-recent 6 seasons is not relevant compared to say Alabama who instead is 72-9 with half of the national championships, that is not what you said. You said we have not been relevant since the early 1980s.

      • @TimH1955 Where you been since the 80’s??? Must not have been paying attention to SEC football?

    • No team in the SEC does less with more, than UGA! I don’t know what the problem(s) is/are with that program but they just cannot make it happen when it counts.

      • Bill Brasky, sir, unfortunately, you are correct. Mark Richt was 16-13 his 1st 29 games vs teams making either the AP or Coaches’ Polls, and only 7-22 in his latest 29 games vs such teams; yet, Mark Richt recruited the # 9 average recruiting rankings all 13 seasons, the 2nd highest average in the period 2001-2013 – the Mark Richt era – and authenticated by the 2nd most NFL Draft Picks 2001-2014 with 75 NFL Draft Picks. I am not so much concerned, Bill Brasky, with UGA winning a NC as I am continuing our long tradition of being in fact a Top 10 College Football Program in 1-A FBS wins. Take our own series, for example Bill Brasky, sir. We enjoy a 52-51-6 record here at UGA over Auburn, for example, right ? Auburn has done a fine job of winning national championships recently, and I loved the Cam Newton season, routing for you guys every game but 1. That was real fun ! Happy for you guys, but you don’t have a winning record against us, now do you ? It would seem then that we can make it happen when it counts against your team.

        • Sorry Thomas, but have to go with Bill here. We always hear what a GREAT MAN Coach Richt is, a good Christian Man. What we want is a great Football Coach that can win National Championships AND send players to the NFL. With the same talent that UGA has had, if Coach Saban were the Coach, GA would have the same number of National Championships as we’ve had at BAMA.

        • Ummmm you got your facts wrong. Auburn leads the series 55-54-8. Lol once again the Bulldogs come up short. War damn eagle. (Btw I reside in Athens and have a great respect for the Bulldogs. Just talkin smack cause there’s no football yet :/ )

        • Incorrect lol. As has been pointed out the Tigers tipped the series in their favor last season. It must have been so traumatic that you blocked it out of your memory. I understand, trust me. Better luck next year. And for pete’s sake, get Richt out of there.

      • Have to agrre with this. Under-achievers to sa the least. But, to say they’re irrelevant in the league??? That’s ridiculous!

        • UGA is NOT irrelevant, just not living up to expectations with the talent available.

        • If we could all put our bias hats aside, as a Georgia fan/alum, yes, we have underachieved at times so that’s not an unfair critique, Bamapaul. I would agree – as a Georgia fan, it’s been incredibly frustrating to have been so close a number of times and not walk away with a crystal trophy or a shot at one.

          Regarding 2007, I realize it’s been 7 years (and this isn’t aimed your way, comment to general population here) so some folks have short memories, but there are some facts both ways here.

          First, we did lose those Tennessee and South Carolina games and it did weaken our argument for the national title game, but as Bama proved a few years later, winning the SEC isn’t a requirement – so it’s completely fair to say separate rules given to Bama a few years later than were to Georgia. Now to be fair here, it’s possible the NCAA looked at what happened to Georgia in 2007 and realized that wasn’t completely fair and adjusted – but I am being nice.

          Having said that, since a fair argument could have been made both ways about the Dawgs being in the title game that year, there was no argument from anywhere in America at that (except maybe LSU fans but I digress) that the 2 hottest teams in the country by the end of the year were USC and Georgia – by a good margin. Neither made the 07 title game but they were the hottest teams at the very end.

          As has been pointed out, the Rose Bowl made a crucial mistake by succumbing to pressure to have a “Big Ten opponent” for USC and instead of what would have been an epic Georgia vs USC game in 2007, Illinois was shoved into Pasadena and got trounced by the Trojans…and in turn Georgia was stuck with an overmatched Hawaii and we beat them 41-10.

          The point being is that while I was disappointed to not be in the national title game, I would been very content as a “Plan B” to give Georgia a super exciting and well deserved Rose Bowl matchup with USC, that would have pitted the two hottest teams in the country against one another and likely would have been a great game, nailbiter, down to the wire. Then if you had matched up Illinois and Hawaii that year, you would have had a great game there, evenly matched up.

          Again, we could all put our bias aside here and those were the facts for 2007.

    • And that’s why we need a real 16-team playoff like the FCS, and not this nonsense.

      Even in the years where the SEC would have been left out, it’s because those were years that they beat up on each other and teams with weaker schedules and better records got in.

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