CFB Playoff Selection Committee and ability to rank 2024, 9-3 teams

Conventional wisdom is that a 9-3 SEC team will make the expanded CFB Playoff field. If there are multiple 9-3 SEC teams, SOS should be important in ranking teams.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

May is a great month for college football hypotheticals. The next season is too many days away to count. Beyond roster changes, there will not be much solid college football news for many weeks.

We can spend some time talking about what we do not know. A big 'don't know' for me is whether the CFB Playoff Selection Committee will be able to competently select 12 teams. I'm in the minority of fans who believe the Selection Committee has done a good job of selecting each season's four teams. There have been a few misses, but I congratulate the many committee members for their efforts.

I am, however, unsure if the current committee will perform as well in selecting 12 teams. Over the years the committees have frequently talked about Strength of Schedule (SOS), but almost always in vague terms. In fairness, applying SOS can be a murky process, but in December, SOS must be used effectively. Otherwise, there might be 9-3 teams left out without a precise explanation.

A couple of left out 9-3 teams could come from the SEC. The idea for this post was triggered by the tweet below.

The tweet applies to how much tougher it will be to win for many SEC teams. Taken a step further, it can be also be said that some projected, top SEC teams have a much better chance of being 9-3 (or better) than other top SEC teams.

Alabama Football and other SEC Teams Playoff Paths

Using the latest Top 25 ranking provided by 247Sports, we can measure which SEC teams have the easiest Playoff paths and which have the hardest. The SEC teams with no Playoff chance are excluded in this comparison. Instead nine SEC teams, often listed among the odds of top teams to win the National Championship are used. The nine are Georgia, Texas, Alabama, Ole Miss, LSU, Tennessee, Missouri, Texas A&M and Oklahoma.

The Sooners have the toughest schedule playing six Top 25 teams. Alabama and Georgia are next with five Top 25 opponents. The easiest Playoff paths are Ole Miss and Missouri, each playing three Top 25 teams, followed by Texas, LSU, Tennessee, and Texas A&M, each playing four Top 25 teams.

A question for Alabama football fans is how the committee would view multiple 9-3, SEC teams. Would an Alabama Crimson Tide 9-3 record rank Bama over a 9-3 Ole Miss or a 9-3 Missouri? Of course, there are multiple data points to consider, but if there are more 9-3, SEC teams than available slots, SOS should be an important factor.