SEC Playoff Scenarios: Season 19, Week 6

Ryan Moreland · February 16, 2024


By: Ryan Moreland (@ryanmoreland)

The ACC and Big 10 provided us clear and uncomplicated playoff races. The Big XII and SEC said hold my beer and watch this. Yet again we have a complex and exciting conference to keep an eye on for the last two weeks. Here is a short recap of how the playoffs work this season before we get into the action.

The top three teams from each conference will receive an automatic bid for the playoffs. That will make up the top 12 seeds in the playoffs. The final four teams to get in will be decided by a league-wide vote at the season’s end. Ties will be decided the same way as last season and here is how that looks:

1Conference Record
3Record vs common conference opponents
4Point differential vs common conference opponents
5Record vs common overall opponents
6Point differential vs common overall opponents
7Overall record
8Overall point differential

Since every team will play all the members of their conference, this should never get passed Head-to-Head. But I will be using these tiebreakers to rank the teams as they stand today. Now that we are caught up, let’s look at the SEC.

SEC Standings

TeamOverall RecordConference RecordTiebreaker (if applicable)
Auburn2-42-4Point differential vs common conference opponents
Tennessee0-60-4Point differential vs common conference opponents

There are four teams still in the hunt for the conference title. LSU has the easiest path. All they have to do is beat Alabama on Wednesday night and they win the SEC crown. However, if Alabama beats them, things will get interesting.

If Alabama beats LSU, then Kentucky controls its destiny. If they win out they’d win the SEC. Alabama is the third team that could win the SEC title, but they need a lot of help. Here is what would need to happen:

*Alabama beats LSU and Auburn
*Kentucky loses to Georgia and Tennessee

Florida could still tie for first (and they have a tiebreaker over LSU), but for that that to happen Alabama would have to beat LSU. If Alabama beats LSU, then the worst they could finish is 4-2 in the conference. 4-2 is the best that Florida can finish and Alabama holds a tiebreaker over the Gators.

Now that we have settled on who can win the conference, it’s time to look at who can finish in the top 3. Just like the Big XII, no one in the SEC has punched their ticket yet. As stated earlier, LSU wins the division with a win this week and that would punch their ticket to the playoffs as well. However, they could still finish in 4th place and find themselves campaigning for a vote-in. Keep in mind that Florida has a head-to-head tiebreaker over LSU.

Kentucky could finish anywhere from 1st to 4th as well. If they win both, the worst they could finish is second place. If Kentucky wins this week over Georgia, then they would punch their ticket.

Alabama could finish anywhere from 1st to 5th. However, they control their destiny for third place. As long as they win either of their last two games, they clinch a playoff spot.

Florida is still in the running for a playoff spot, but they need some help. There are a few scenarios that could see them in. One is the three-way tie we talked about earlier. Another would be for Alabama to lose both games and Florida beats Georgia in Week Eight. Any way you slice it, Florida needs to beat Georgia for any of this to matter.

Georgia is still alive and isn’t in a bad position despite their standing. The Bulldogs still control their destiny. If they beat Kentucky and Florida in their next two games, then the worst they can finish is 3rd place.

Auburn and Tennessee are both out of the running for an automatic playoff bid. However, for them and the rest of the SEC teams that finish 4th or worst, there are still the vote-in spots. Good luck to all the SEC teams.


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