Phil Steele explains why he picked 2 SEC West teams to reach CFP
Could the SEC make history in 2016?
Through the first two years of the College Football Playoff, no two teams from the same conference have made it. The SEC has been represented by Alabama the last two years, and many think the Crimson Tide are again the favorite. But it’s not a foregone conclusion, because several believe LSU, led by Leonard Fournette and veteran QB Brandon Harris, is ready to have a say in college football’s toughest division.
Count college football expert Phil Steele as one who thinks both the Crimson Tide and the Tigers will go toe-to-toe for the division crown, even venturing to say both could make the playoff in 2016.
Steele, who’s appearing on radio shows countrywide, Thursday hopped on The Opening Kickoff on WNSP-FM 105.5 in Mobile, Al., and he explained his out-of-the-box pick of two SEC teams reaching the playoff.
“I went out of the box,” Steele explained. “This is the third year of the playoffs. Everyone just assumes it will be one team per conference. But I think this year, Alabama and LSU are so loaded that the SEC can get two teams into the playoffs.”
No doubt the head-to-head winner would have to run the table or become a one-loss SEC Champion, while the loser of the head-to-head matchup would have to finish 11-1.
But that doesn’t answer the question as to why — or even if — the playoff committee would even go that route. Steele, however, thinks the other conferences will just beat up on themselves, similar to what the SEC has done in the past.
“I think the Pac-12 might beat itself up,” Steele said. “The Big Ten may beat itself up and create an opening there. LSU is the type of team that can step right in there.”
When asked who would win the big showdown between Alabama and LSU, Steele plead the fifth, but he eventually predicted the Crimson Tide.
“You tell me,” Steele said. “I have them kinda tied for first in the West. (…) I’m going with Alabama winning the West and the SEC overall. LSU’s lone loss will be to Alabama and making the playoffs.”
There you have it.
If you ask me, the Alabama-LSU rematch in the 2012 BCS National Championship Game expedited the four-team playoff, eventually leaving the BCS in the dust.
Should Alabama and LSU both find their way to the College Football Playoff Championship Game in 2016, I assume there would be talk about expanding the playoff to eight teams.