SEC bowl projections, Week 4: Very top heavy
In case y’all had not noticed, the SEC is a very top-heavy conference in 2019.
Alabama, Georgia and LSU all look like teams that could well make the College Football Playoff. Auburn and Florida are still undefeated and, with a few breaks here and there, could knock off some teams ranked above them and stamp themselves as CFP material.
It’s easy to see a scenario where four SEC teams make the New Year’s Day 6, just like last year.
It’s also easy to see a scenario where only eight SEC teams become eligible for any bowl at all.
At the bottom of the conference, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Arkansas seem extremely unlikely to come up with six wins this season. After losing to Cal on Saturday, Ole Miss is 2-2 — with Alabama, Missouri, Texas A&M, Auburn, LSU and Mississippi State looming. The Rebels have two nonconference losses, which means they’d have to go at least 4-4 in the SEC to make a bowl. I don’t see it happening.
South Carolina looks shaky as well at 1-3, and it likely will have to pull off an upset to go 6-6. For now, we’ll keep the Gamecocks in our projections, but if they don’t get to six wins, the SEC could leave not just one or two but perhaps as many as three bowl slots vacant. (Come on, NCAA, do the right thing and restore Mizzou’s bowl eligibility already!)
Back at the top, No. 3 Georgia hangs on to its CFP place after knocking off No. 7 Notre Dame on Saturday. It is very, very tempting to throw LSU into that picture. Speaking of the Tigers, they are a strong candidate for a new opening in our projections at the No. 4 spot in the CFP. Why is that spot open? Oh, right, it’s because — even after Michigan’s poor performance in a win over Army — I was the last idiot in America who thought the Wolverines could win the Big Ten. Well, no more of that nonsense.
So a bunch of teams make a case to join obvious picks Clemson, Alabama and Georgia in the CFP. LSU and Ohio State look to be deep, complete teams worthy of the CFP. But Oklahoma also looks really good and has the easiest path of any of them — really, if the Sooners beat Texas on Oct. 12, it would be stunning if they lost at all this season. So Oklahoma takes the final CFP spot for now.
Now, on to our bowl projections: