Four tiers of SEC Football teams based on CFB Playoff chances

Based on ESPN FPI calculations, Alabama Football has the SEC's third-highest probability of making the CFB Playoffs.
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Using current projections from ESPN Analytics, SEC Football has four tiers of teams. ESPN provides an early projection of Playoff chances for all FBS teams. ESPN does not separate the teams into tiers, so using the percentages, I am providing the four SEC Tiers. They are 'No chance - Forget it', 'Long, Longshots', 'Possible Contenders or Pretenders', and 'Legit Contenders'.

SEC Football 'No chance - Forget It'

Five SEC football teams are projected by ESPN to have less than a 5% chance of making the CFB Playoffs. They are Kentucky, South Carolina, Arkansas, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt. To avoid piling on about the bleak prospects of the five teams, actual percentage projections are not included. It is bad enough that fans of these programs must place a ceiling on their hopes for the season - at not going to bad bowl game.

SEC, Playoff 'Long, Longshots'

  • Auburn Wire touted the Tigers' position in the current FPI because of a No. 19 ranking. Even with that ranking, ESPN gives the Tigers a 0.8% chance to win the SEC and only a 13.5% chance to make the Playoffs.
  • The Florida Gators are No. 20 in ESPN's FPI, but Billy Napier's team is given a lower chance than Auburn to make the Playoff field; only 8.3%.

Possible Contenders or Pretenders

If ESPN is correct, Ole Miss and Texas A&M, with Playoff chances in the low 20s, are likely Pretenders. More likely Contenders in this group of SEC teams are LSU (24.9%), Tennessee (36.6%), Oklahoma (36.8%), and Missouri (37.2%).

Alabama Football and the other SEC Legit Contenders

The Georgia Bulldogs are a Playoff favorite in ESPN's projection. Kirby Smart's Bulldogs are at 78.7%. Next among SEC teams are the Texas Longhorns at 67.7%. Not far behind the Dawgs and the Horns is the Alabama Crimson Tide at 57.2%.

The only other teams with higher percentage projections than Alabama Football are the Oregon Ducks at 75.6%, Ohio State Buckeyes (66.8%), Notre Dame Fighting Irish (59.5%) and Penn State Nittany Lions (58.9%).

The ESPN algorithm uses thousands of simulations to calculate projections. The FPI has many critics, but by design, it is improved by every week's results during the season.