1. Florida State- they are here until beaten
2. Alabama- more dangerous on offense than expected
3. Oklahoma- may have easiest path to undefeated season
4. Auburn- excellent road win before tough SEC slate
5. Oregon- are they talented enough?
6. Mississippi State- may own best win in country at moment (at LSU)
7. Texas A&M- this would be 4th in the SEC West at moment
8. UCLA- big game Thursday night at Arizona State
9. Baylor- the Bears have become a very consistent program
10. Notre Dame- Irish still have a lot to prove
The conference lives up to it's reputation because it produces. Plain and simple. Everyone can "remain silent" about SEC bias until they start beating SEC teams. Right now only FSU fans have bragging rights as wins over Auburn, UF(3), and South Carolina give the 'Noles the evidence that they "can compete".
The SEC West looks like the toughest division in the history of college football. There are 4 teams in the top 7 above and that does NOT include LSU, a highly touted Ole Miss team, and a seemingly semi-resurgent Arkansas squad. There will be big games every week here. The East is now South Carolina's to lose, but Georgia is not likely to give much margin for error (perhaps one more SEC loss).
So many crazy scenario's for the playoffs could be produced here. What if a two loss Georgia beats an undefeated Alabama in the SEC Title game? And an 11-1 Auburn or Miss State, or AM team is also out there? Crazy, but not as far-fetched as you may think as there are plenty of candidates. That would be three legit teams from the SEC.
The PAC 12
Seven teams are still undefeated and the top portion of this conference certainly appear to be top 25 type teams. The South looks like the tougher division race with UCLA, USC, Arizona State, and Arizona all looking like legit contenders. UCLA was the heavy favorite pre-season, but is looks a lot more competitive now. Oregon and Stanford are the class of the North.
Hard to see a lot of scenario's where there would be two PAC 12 teams in the playoffs. If Oregon or perhaps UCLA lost ONE game, but it kept them out of the conference championship game, at 11-1 they would be attractive (particularly Oregon with the win over Michigan State). On the flip side their conference champ looks to be excellent shape to make the playoffs (as long as that team has one loss or less)
The BIG 12
This conference could be called the great divide. There is a big difference between the contenders: OU, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, and perhaps TCU vs. the rest of the league.
Like the PAC 12, at this point we would like the conference champ to make the playoffs as long as they are undefeated. Only OU can afford a loss and that is because of the Alabama win last year and Tennessee win this year. IE- Baylor has to be undefeated. Interestingly KSU (Auburn) and Oklahoma State (FSU) have lost one game, but it was to the teams that played for the National Title last year. If either ran the table, resume wise, they would be in a pretty strong position and better off than Baylor.
Florida State should win the Atlantic, the question is if they drop a game in the process (not likely). The Coastal is as competitive as the SEC West, just two levels down in quality. Anyone could win the side......literally anyone. That team figures to have two plus losses before the beat-down by FSU in the ACC title game (see Duke last year).
It is FSU or bust to the playoffs.
The BIG 10
Ohio State, Michigan State, and perhaps Penn State will battle for the East Crown. Nebraska and Wisconsin are the best teams in the West.
The possibility exists that Nebraska and Penn State could be undefeated and thus they need to be mentioned as playoff contenders. We don't see it has being real plausible and Nebraska's resume would be light. Both figure to slip up at least once. Michigan State has pre-season mojo and their loss is a good one (at Oregon). They remain the Big 10's best hope of a playoff team. Ohio State's loss to a middling ACC team should eliminate them.
The Seat is Hot
1. Michigan- The results are not very good, but given the handling of Rich Rodriguez, we might be inclined to give him one more year. Has a QB problem and that needs to be figured out or have an answer here over the next month. 28-15 is not going to cut it in Ann Arbor.
2. Florida- Will Muschamp has won even fewer games than Hoke (24-17) and has the tougher slate of games remaining. He faces a must win vs. Tennessee and will need to win at least one of the FSU, Georgia, and South Carolina games. In his favor, his AD may be inclined to give him one more year.
1. Todd Gurley, Georgia
2. Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska
3. Amari Cooper, Alabama