Predicting 2024 SEC Football and CFB Playoff participants

Over six months away from the CFB Playoff's first ever 12-team field, it is possible to predict how Alabama Football and other SEC teams will rank.
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There are not many more than 100 days until the start of the 2024 college football season. SEC football rosters are not locked in, but while teams will seek additional transfers, roster frenzy has passed. Mid-May feels like an early but good time to make some predictions.

I'm not talking about bold predictions designed to latch on to eyeballs. Bold predictions are fine, except the great majority are long shots and thereby only a few prove accurate. Instead, I'll take a bold step, and disclose how I see the 2024 regular season playing out for Alabama Football and the other SEC CFB Playoff contenders.

I believe the SEC will have seven CFB Playoff contenders. I also see seven SEC teams with no shot to make the first 12-team CFB Playoff field. The 'no shot' seven are Vanderbilt (of course), Arkansas, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Florida, Kentucky and Auburn.

Having a 'slim shot' of surprising, and becoming a Playoff contender are Texas A&M and Oklahoma.

Seven SEC Football, CFB Playoff contenders

The new SEC will be a powerhouse never before seen in college football. The expanded Playoff field needed to adopt the late-in-the-process consideration of 14 teams rather than 12. The reason is at least five SEC teams will deserve to be in the Playoff field. Instead, the SEC will only have four. The at-large teams will be three to the SEC, two or three to the Big Ten, with Big 12 or ACC non-champions gaining one or two slots.

Winning the SEC Championship Game will be important, as it will afford the champion a first-round Playoff bye. The game's loser will be compensated with a first-round home Playoff game. More than six months out from college football's Selection Sunday, my prediction is Texas and Georgia will play for the SEC Championship. Unimportant to the Playoff is an additional prediction, the Horns will beat the Dawgs in Austin and Georgia will win in Atlanta.

Waiting for the Selection Sunday drama will be three SEC teams for what will then be two available Playoff slots. All three of them could have 10-2 records. One will be the winner of a Nov. 9 game in Baton Rouge. I predict the Alabama Crimson Tide will be that winner, effectively knocking the LSU Bengal Tigers out of the Playoff picture. The other two teams will be Ole Miss and Missouri.

Ole Miss does not play either Alabama or Missouri. The Crimson Tide will have a home win over the Tigers in late October. If the Playoff Selection Committee, uses Strength of Schedule (SOS) as a key tie-breaker, Alabama Football will make the Playoffs. Unfortunately, it is impossible to estimate how much the committee will value SOS.

It is possible, maybe even probable that I am undervaluing the Alabama Crimson Tide. My guess is the chance of 11 regular season wins is better than nine. In this prediction exercise, I gave Georgia the September win in Tuscaloosa, but I also think the Tide can beat the Dawgs.

Believing the accuracy of a May (or even September) prediction is folly. The games will play out with shocks and surprises. Even so, I feel secure in the list of seven SEC teams, having no shot at the Playoffs.