SEC Football Predictions | College Football Playoff

By Eric Taylor -

Welcome to the College Football Playoff Edition of SEC Football Predictions. These predictions will be for College Football Playoff games taking place New Year’s Day.

When determining which team has an advantage in a bowl game, the variables are much different than when previewing a regular season game. Stats and tendencies are useful for regular-season games, but rendered pretty much useless for bowl games. Questions like, “Which team has something to prove?” or “Who has more players looking ahead to the NFL Draft?” are as effective as any stat or regular season precedent.

All Times Eastern | Utilizing College Football Playoff Selection Committee Rankings.

 Monday, January 1, 2018

Rose Bowl Game Presented By Northwestern Mutual – CFP Semifinal
#3 Georgia (12-1, SEC Champions) vs #2 Oklahoma 
(12-1, Big 12 Champions)
5:00 PM ET | ESPN | Pasadena, CA

  • 5 – Interceptions thrown by senior Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield.
  • 41 – Touchdowns thrown by Baker Mayfield.
  • 3 – Games in which freshman Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm has thrown for at least 200 yards.
  • 46 – Yards rushing for Georgia against Auburn in the first game at Auburn.
  • 238 – Yards rushing for Georgia against Auburn in the rematch at the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta.
  • 7 – Games played before the Sooners’ leading rusher, sophomore Rodney Anderson, had over 50 yards rushing and greater than 10 carries in a game.

PREDICTION: Georiga 34, Oklahoma 31 (OVERTIME)

Allstate Sugar Bowl – CFP Semifinal
#4 Alabama (12-1, At-Large) vs #1 Clemson 
(12-1, ACC Champions)
8:45 PM ET | ESPN | Pasadena, CA

  • 14 – The highest number of pass completions in one game (Fresno State, Sept. 9) for Alabama sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurts.
  • 24 – The highest number of pass attempts in one game (LSU, Nov. 4) for Jalen Hurts.
  • 3 – Consecutive years Alabama and Clemson have played in the College Football Playoff.
  • 3 – Clemson players with over 600 yards rushing on the season (Freshman Travis Etienne, sophomore Tavien Feaster, and junior quarterback Kelly Bryant).
  • 8 – Alabama players averaging at least 5.08 yards per carry.
  • 6 – Total margin of victory in the previous two match-ups.

PREDICTION: Alabama 28, Clemson 17

Eric Taylor is a contributor to FBSchedules.com. Follow him on Twitter @EricFromSpfld or contact him via email at EricFromSpringfield–at– gmail–dot– com. Eric sprinkles his talents across the property & casualty insurance sector and the comedy writing world. Luckily, he makes his living doing insurance,  but be sure to Like the Facebook page Facebook.com/EricTaylorWritesStuff  for updates on other stuff Eric may be writing or doing. 

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Comments (21)

I think the only way the college football playoff committee’s decision to take Alabama over Ohio State in the college football playoff is anything but laughable is if Alabama keeps the game with Clemson within a touchdown. We knew the SEC was down this year before the bowls, that was proven out by their 2-5 start to bowl season. Putting in a 2nd team from such a mediocre conference over the champion from a conference that finished bowl season 7-1 based on the “eye test” was a bold move. We will see how good those eyes are tonight.

The “down” SEC has two teams playing for the National Title.

How laughable is that?

How mediocre is that?

Face it Little Ten fans… you and the rest of the college football world have a long, long, long way to go to catch up with the SEC>

You nailed it earlier Joe when you mentioned that this may happen, I was wrong. Plus my bowl picks sucked this year as well…lol

Congrats to Georgia and Alabama for their performances Monday night. Proved it is possible to have two top tier teams in an otherwise mediocre conference. Now I just need my Buckeyes to join the SEC so that they can have the luxury of only playing 8 conference games a year, a free pass to lose against one of the two games vs top 10 competition each year and a remaining schedule vs cupcakes.

I have never argued against Georgia making the playoff. They were 1 loss champions of their conference and played 11 power 5 teams. Unquestionably deserved to be in playoff. I also generally respect how Georgia, South Carolina and Florida schedule in the non-conference as they generally play 2 P5 teams. It’s the other 11 teams I take issue with.

I love the OSU doesn’t play cupcakes line… Please.

As “down” as the SEC was this year, they were still better, top to bottom, than the Big Ten. Ohio State scheduled Army and UNLV, quality programs no doubt, but Ohio State should beat those teams every single year. They scheduled one tough out-of-conference game. Then OSU has ONE rivalry game… Michigan. Georgia has at least four that are as big these days, with Florida, Tennessee, Georgia and Auburn. Alabama has Auburn, Tennessee, LSU, Mississippi… Seriously, what you Little Ten fans don’t seem to understand is that the grind in the SEC is so far above that of the Little Ten… throw records out, they don’t matter in some of these games. This spring, the SEC will send more players to the NFL than any other conference and they’ll come from all 14 teams. That’s what you face week in and week out in the toughest conference in the land. You don’t get a Rutgers, Indiana, Illinois, Purdue or Iowa in the SEC. You just don’t. So, when the Little Ten gets better, if they get better, then maybe the top of the conference will be ready in games that actually matter. But what you saw with Ohio State was them knowing they should easily beat Iowa, taking them for granted and losing. OSU simply wasn’t good enough to play for a national title this year because their conference is pathetic.

Northwestern did beat Kentucky, so the SEC is certainly mediocre. Ohio State had to beat the Commander’s Cup winner and UNLV. They also had to beat Iowa, but lost by 31.

Anybody can beat anybody on a given Saturday. Or Friday. Or Thursday. Or whenever they play games these days which is about every day of the week.

That doesn’t make the SEC mediocre or the Little Ten some sort of gauntlet.

And one year doesn’t mean much… The SEC has established dominance over a decade or more now. It will take a real fall for them to not be the most dominant conference in the game. More likely what will happen is the balance of power will shift from the West to the East as Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee reload.

Joe, you did watch college football this year, didn’t you? If your argument was the SEC was the best conference this year because it had the top 2 teams in the country, that argument would at least be a fun debate. But saying the SEC is better top to bottom is just plain laughable. The reason I question whether you watched college football this year is if you did, you would realized the Purdue team you made fun of went on the road to beat the 3rd best team in the SEC east 35-3. Purdue could barely make a bowl because of how tough their B10 schedule was. Indiana didn’t make a bowl but still went on the road to crush a mid-tier ACC team. And that Iowa team you make fun of, they have won 8 of their last 10 home games vs top 10 opponents. Sure, OSU shouldn’t lose by 31, but I don’t know that there is a single team in the SEC that would be willing to get off the team bus in Iowa in November, let alone win a football game. Anyway, thanks for the laugh.

Have you watched the last 12 years or so?

Again, teams ebb and flow. You’d know that if you played or even if you just watched for a period of time over five minutes or so. That means Purdue can beat Missouri and still not be, as a whole, the better team.

That’s why you take into account actual talent on the field. So, how do you judge that? Well, a start would be the NFL draft. Teams aren’t going to just draft players that aren’t going to help them win games. They are going to draft the most talented individuals that will help them win football games. It’s very impartial.

And every year, more players come into the NFL from the SEC than any other league. Not only that, more players come to the NFL from across the SEC. You might have eight Little Ten schools send a player. But you’ll have 13 or 14 SEC schools with players taken. And again, this is year in and year out.

Your conference is weak. They had a good bowl season beating up, for the most part, bad Pac 12 teams. But what is their bowl record over the last five years?

The SEC continues to be the dominant league in the game. And No matter how much you try to prop up Wisconsin and Michigan, the Little Ten is still just Ohio State and everybody else at this point. It’s not even close. Top to bottom, East to West and back again, there is no comparison between the two.

Seriously, the air in the old basement must be pretty stale. You’re losing your capacity to think.

This is the CFP bowl records for 4 years..
..
ACC—–21-26
Big 10—–21-18
Big 12—–14-14
Pac 12—–16-20
SEC—–27-20

CFP Champs

ACC—–1
Big 10—–1
SEC—–2

For those of you that can’t cipher math,
call your brother Jethro to cipher for you.

Bashing the SEC to make yourself feel better will get no one anywhere. Making excuses why the SEC got two teams will not work either. The Ohio State got a FREE PASS last year over Penn St. Beating Rutgers 58-0 is like playing a FCS team or (cupcake) if that is the word. Playing UNLV this year did not help, actually Mercer has won more games in the last 5years then the Rebels. I try not to bash any other conferences but if the SEC is mediocre, then what the hell is the PAC-12 then? They did not come close to getting a team in the CFP plus went 1-8 in bowls.
It comes down to this, don’t lose by 31 points to anyone! Don’t allow anyone to score 55 points on you! That was Penn St problem last year when Michigan whooped them, it did not look good. Don’t bash other teams for playing cupcakes, meanwhile, your team is playing cupcakes! Smaller teams is a better word for me.
Committee had a chose to make & they made it, DONE DEAL! I am sure Penn St fans were pissed last year for not getting in but hey, its The Ohio State! Eye candy over Penn St.
Comes down to play better & win your games, only lose one game a year if you can help it & if you have to lose that one game……don’t get smashed!
The Ohio State cruises through the BIG every year, it is a given & they will be in the top 5 when next year starts.

Joe, when you list one of Georgia’s toughest 4 rivalry games as the Georgia spring game, your arguments become null and void. I don’t even have to point out Tennessee is a bumpster fire that has reached the depths of Vanderbilt, Illinois and Rutgers; Ole Miss got crushed by a Cal team that could barely win a couple PAC 12 games or just remind you Urban Meyer no longer coaches at Florida. Speaking of coaching, how is that going in the SEC? Your NFL talent argument might hold a little weight if your conference actually had some coaches (outside of GA and AL) to get that talent to produce on the field.

Look, I know you Southern folks worship your SEC football so when you hear someone try and enlighten you to the fact that there are other brands of football out there that are equal to or better than your precious SEC, it can be tough on the ears. And I am not saying Alabama is not a good team, they are. I am just bothered by the fact that Alabama’s path to the playoff is far easier than any B10 team and it only gets easier next year. Here is Alabama’s 17 and 18 schedule

17
FSU
Bye
Bye
Bye
Bye
At A&M (who lost to ucla and wake)
Bye
Bye
LSU (Troy had a tougher time going to Boise than they did LSU)
At Miss St (scheduled 0 P5 non-conference games)
Bye
At Auburn

18
Louisville (likely a 7-5 ACC team)
Bye
Bye
A&M
Bye
Bye
Missouri (being generous not calling this a bye, ask Purdue)
Bye
AT LSU
Miss St
Bye
Auburn

For all other teams not named Alabama, it is an absolute grind trying to make the playoff. UCF isn’t even given the opportunity despite playing a similar schedule to Alabama. I would just like to see Alabama earn their spot in the dance rather than be entitled to it. They are certainly talented enough to challenge themselves as much as the other legitimate playoff contenders.

Jeff,

You have no respect for college football calling teams that Bama plays bye & saying UCF schedule was similar to Bama is just sad!
My guess is UCF would’ve gone 6-6 in the SEC or BIG. Congrats to the Knights this year but no way they deserved a shot at the CFP.

Look, the Little Ten should just relabel themselves “Ohio State and the Little 13.”

Tennessee will rebound. Florida will rebound. Just like South Carolina has rebounded.

And, look, I get it… You don’t understand the game you are so passionately discussing. An 11-point Cal win is “crushing?” Then the 31-point loss to Iowa by Ohio State was what? “Word-ending?” “Catastrophic?” “Armageddon?” Seriously, you have no clue what you are talking about, like most Little Ten fans.

In the last decade, Alabama, Florida, LSU and Auburn have won national titles for the SEC. Do you know how far back you have to go to find four different Little Ten teams that have won the national title? You would have to go back to 1960 to get a fourth team to “spread the wealth around” in the Little Ten.

The SEC has had four in the last ten years. That’s depth, son.

I’m all for hearing about brands of football that equal the SEC… there just isn’t one out there. And if it is, it’s certainly not the Little Ten. The last two representatives in the College Football Playoff from that pathetic conference haven’t even scored a point.

That should tell you something about why OSU didn’t get invited.

Alabama’s path to the playoff is not just harder than anyone in the Little Ten, it’s A LOT HARDER.

They don’t have the luxury of scheduling Indiana, Rutgers, Maryland, Minnesota, Purdue, Northwestern, Illinois, Iowa and Michigan in conference.

Oh, and for the record, the SEC will, after Monday, have played NINE games in the four-team College Football Playoff… NINE. That’s more than the entirety of the Big 12, Pac-12, and Little Ten… COMBINED.

Sorry, the Little Ten is that close to being a member of the Group of Five than they are being on the SEC’s level.

Day,

It is probably fair for SEC nation to feel a little disrespect when I call teams like Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss and Arkansas a bye. Your group of fans have been saying the same thing about Rutgers, Illinois, Maryland and Purdue for years (albeit you may use a different term). And you know what, for the most part you are right (though Purdue came back to life this year). If Ohio State goes in to Rutgers with a 98% chance of winning, for all intents and purposes, that is a bye (full disclosure, I think OSU had 4 bye’s on their schedule this year, not 7 like Alabama). If Rutgers feels disrespected, then Rutgers can go get a better football team and prove me wrong. Same thing with Tennessee. I know Tennessee has great history, but when you haven’t been relevant for 15 years, its time to stop caring so much about your history and start focusing on the present.

I know you guys are pretty set in your ways (maybe not you Day but others on the blog), but I am just curious what it would take for you to look at things differently. For instance, the B10 went 7-1 in bowls this year. If that were the SEC, you would be pumping your chest. SInce its the B10, you write it off as beating mostly Pac-12 and ACC teams and further degrade the B10 by calling them the Little Ten. Furthermore, the B10 went 3-1 vs the SEC this year. Was that 3 flukes and one dominating comeback victory in your eyes? I’m just curious what it will take for some of you to wake up and realize the SEC isn’t quite what it was 6-10 years ago.

Well, first, you again prove you have no knowledge of the game. You claim Tennessee hasn’t been ‘relevant’ for 15 years. In that time, they have had six 9+ win seasons, all but one season with at least five wins. They’ve appeared in nine bowl games in that span, winning six. They’ve also appeared in the SEC title game twice in that span. Most colleges in the country would take that.

Let’s look at the draft. Tennessee had six players drafted last year. Tennessee was one of five SEC teams with at least five players taken in the draft. Compare that to only two teams in the Little Ten who had five players drafted. The SEC had eight teams with three players drafted. The Little Ten had only four. I mean, how much clearer can the numbers be?

When it comes to talent, the SEC has more across the league, so when you play Tennessee you’re facing NFL level talent all over the field. When you play Alabama, Georgia, Auburn, Florida, A&M and Arkansas, there is NFL talent on the field, despite their record.

It’s just not the case for the Little Ten.

Last year (2016 season) Auburn played 8 SEC games, facing 34 players that were drafted in the NFL draft the following spring. Ohio State played 9 Little Ten games, only facing 20 players taken in the NFL draft.

That’s why the extra conference game simply is irrelevant when compared to the SEC. The Little Ten is full of cupcakes, where the SEC is not. And the playoff committee, stacked with people who KNOW the game and understand the game on a level you clearly do not, take that into account.

So, what would it take to change my mind that the SEC is not the dominant conference? Well, for one, the numbers would have to start looking more and more like the Little Ten’s numbers in terms of draft picks and success on the field over the a number of years.

But that’s not happening any time soon. The SEC is about to win its ninth national championship in the last 12 years.

And those are outright.

To count twelve champions from the Little Ten, you’d have to go back to 1954 and many of those only shared the title.

Admit it. the numbers simply do not lie. The SEC has done something over the last 12 years that clearly separates them from the rest of the college football world.

There are 14 teams in a “Conference” SEC clearly had 2-3, the rest sucked. Just look at that bowl record vs. Non SEC opponents. Regular season was 5-4.

Yep Big 10 plays 9 conference games. Started waaaaay back in 2016. Sure does sound great when you say it without the starting date. Play 9 games in conference gives you at least 1 more team with a losing record to beat. Then you get to play a bunch of bowl games against the PAC 12. I believe you played cupcakes South Carolina and Kentucky. 23 unanswered points by Michigan cost them the game. Northwestern slaughtered Kentucky by a whooping 1 point. OT or win? Kentucky went for the win.