The hottest two teams after Week 8 of the SEC football season are LSU and Auburn. It could be argued that Alabama is truly the hottest, but they probably fit more in the dominant/consistent category than the former. If Auburn and LSU continue to play lights out and with this level of confidence, life could become very stressful for college football’s gold standard conference.
As much as the SEC pretends to enjoy having multiple quality teams that can compete for championships, it’s hard to believe that the front offices in Birmingham haven’t shifted their anxieties from rescheduling the LSU-Florida game over to the real possibility that LSU and Auburn’s slow start and strong finish could push the entire conference outside the Top Four of the College Football Playoff Rankings.
There are two one-loss teams remaining in the SEC (Florida and Texas A&M) to go along with an undefeated Alabama. LSU still has Alabama (Nov. 5), Florida (Nov. 19), and Texas A&M (Nov. 24 Thanksgiving night) remaining on the schedule. In essence, LSU can set fire to an entire conference’s hopes, dreams, and aspirations to even play for another national championship, much less win another one.
Alabama must face both LSU (Nov. 5) and Auburn (Nov. 25) before season’s end. Ask anyone following Alabama within 1,000 miles of Tuscaloosa what happened the last time the Tide went into the Iron Bowl against an Auburn team that started the season slow, but finished strong in 2013. Better yet, don’t ask anyone wearing Alabama colors that question. You may not live to see the conclusion of an exciting 2016 season.
To add another straw to an already breaking back of the camel, the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta is one more opportunity for a team like Alabama or a one-loss Florida or Texas A&M to falter. The CFP committee could leave out a team with as little as one loss depending on when that team suffered the loss. That would basically only affect Alabama if they lose to Auburn or in the SEC Championship.
Let’s simplify this entire nightmare so the SEC can really know what to be afraid of when they place their collective heads on their pillows each night. What if Auburn and LSU actually run the table? It’s not out of the realm of possibility at this point of the season if you’ve seen either team play lately. Assuming LSU and Auburn ended the season with one conference loss and one out-of-conference loss, that would put a two-loss Auburn team in Atlanta because they own the head-to-head tiebreaker over LSU. Auburn would then face a team out of the East with at least two losses. The SEC would need to become huge Clemson fans at that point because they would have one conference loss to A&M and an out-of-conference loss to Clemson on opening weekend.
I’m assuming that Greg Sankey would more than likely stand outside the Georgia Dome with a leaf blower and claim that a hurricane has forced the conference to cancel the SEC Championship Game if all of the above actually goes down.
Sankey may want to send an intern over to a Home Depot and/or Lowe’s Monday morning to test a few leaf blowers. You can never be too prepared when it comes to the apocalypse. As we all know, in the SEC, it just means more.