The College Football Playoff ushers in a new era for the sport this year. A blue ribbon panel of 12 individuals — actual people — comprise the College Football Playoff Selection Committee, charged with selecting four teams for a playoff to crown a national champion.
Gone are computers, algorithms, mathematical formulas, polls and rankings of the old BCS era. Instead of unbiased logic from agenda-less computers, four teams will be chosen by the least trustworthy, least reliable, perhaps most despicable creatures on the planet.
Let’s face it, most people can’t decide what to wear in the morning. They can’t agree on what movie to rent. They definitely can’t drive. They do generally stupid, pointless things, like leave voice mails or run for public office.
Despite the insurmountable evidence that people are, in fact, fools (especially acting as a committee; I’m not sure anything good has ever come out of a committee), we’re entrusting 12 of them with the most important decision this country has ever faced: tapping the best four teams in college football. What has the world come to?
I think smartphones should select the playoff teams. We already use our phones to text, email, do our banking, browse the web, take photos, take care of our kids, Twitter, directions, Facebook, Uber, get advice on major life decisions, ignore our spouse, pretend to read something important in an elevator, learn random things like how to tie a bow tie or make
Houston’s spinach dip, and generally every other facet of everyday life.
Why not let smartphones pick the playoff teams?
My 7 year old says we should “just Google it” in response to any unanswered question. Maybe she’s right. If Google can develop self-driving cars and deliver 23,600,000 search results in .21 seconds for “flights to Tahiti,” surely it can choose playoff teams.
But the powers that be decided that people, with all of their flaws, will select the four-team playoff. With just two weeks remaining in the regular season, let’s examine the SEC’s playoff possibilities under this people-driven system, SEC Banter style.
The SEC could land one, two, or, heaven forbid, no teams in the inaugural College Football Playoff.
The most straightforward scenario for one SEC playoff team is for Alabama, ranked No. 1 in the latest playoff rankings, to win out. The Tide faces Western Carolina on Saturday, Auburn on November 29 in the Iron Bowl, then Georgia or Missouri in the SEC Championship game.
If Bama wins out, its chances of making the playoff are as good as me eating too many spicy cheese straws over the holidays.
For two SEC teams to make the playoff, Bama needs to win out and Mississippi State must do the same. MSU, No. 4 in the current playoff rankings, needs solid wins over Vanderbilt this Saturday and against the Bulldogs’ Magnolia State rival, Ole Miss, in the Egg Bowl on Nov. 29.
Because Mississippi State currently occupies the final playoff spot, if it finishes the season at 11-1 with a lone loss to Alabama in Tuscaloosa, it should earn a playoff berth. But beating Ole Miss in Oxford won’t come easy. I put State’s chances of making the playoff at 40 percent, roughly the same chances as you enjoying your office holiday party. (You can’t call it a Christmas party anymore. That’s offensive.)
The doomsday SEC scenario plays out if Alabama loses to Auburn and Mississippi State loses to Ole Miss on the final Saturday of the regular season. That would send Ole Miss to Atlanta for its first-ever appearance in the SEC Championship game. Great for the Rebels, but bad for the SEC’s playoff-contending teams, all of whom would have at least two losses.
The SEC will have cannibalized itself. The selection committee would be forced to choose a team like Ohio State over a two-loss SEC team and leave the nation’s finest football conference watching the historic playoff from home.
The SEC’s playoff hopes would be gone with the wind, a tragedy the likes of which could only be depicted by Vivien Leigh herself. Legions of SEC fans would feel betrayed, hopeless and abandoned, similar to when the “Dukes of Hazzard” was canceled.
And speaking of fictitious works based in Georgia, I reckon some folks are clinging to playoff hopes for the Georgia Bulldogs, who sit at No. 10 in the latest rankings. If UGA wins out, plays in the SEC Championship thanks to a Missouri loss, and defeats the SEC West champ handily, might the Dawgs have a shot at the playoff?
The teams Georgia lost to have a combined record of 10-9 and its meltdown in Jacksonville may have all but eliminated UGA from playoff contention. There’s still a Lloyd Christmas in “Dumb and Dumber” chance for the Bulldogs, but they need several unlikely dominos to fall in their favor.
So, there you have SEC Banter’s playoff breakdown. Here’s hoping that humans, acting by committee, get it right and select two SEC playoff teams.
People usually get it right, don’t they? After I repossess my smartphone from the kids, who’ve been watching who knows what for hours, I’m going to Google it. I’ll let you know the results!