I remember in 2013, sitting in the Auburn Sports Network studio for the Iron Bowl broadcast, and forgetting that the SEC West was on the line in that game until Rod Bramblett squealed it out about halfway through the Kick Six call.
Yesterday had no such realization. We knew what was at stake going in, because most of us expected to win, and we did. We dominated Alabama, and crushed them as well as you can crush a Nick Saban team.
It’s Auburn against Georgia for the second time in four weeks next Saturday from the Georgia Do— , uh, Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Auburn’s going for its second SEC Championship in Gus Malzahn’s five years as head coach, and fourth overall since the turn of the century. Georgia will be looking to win its first conference title in twelve years.
So, after beating a second number one team in the span of 15 days, what happened to the Tigers in the rankings?
Not a whole lot, but we’re fully in control of our own destiny.
Auburn moved up two spots to #4 in the AP Poll, thanks to the win that knocked Alabama out of the top spot. Miami’s loss to Pitt also knocked the Hurricanes down below Auburn, and the Tigers are in position for a playoff bid if they can beat Georgia next week.
They’re both pretty similar, and speak to what we already knew:
- The winner of the SEC is into the Playoff. Either Auburn or Georgia will get in, just win the conference.
- The winner of the ACC is also likely in. Same story as the SEC with Clemson and Miami.
- Oklahoma is in if they beat TCU next weekend. The way Baker Mayfield’s playing, that shouldn’t be a problem.
- Wisconsin is in if they beat Ohio State next weekend in the Big Ten Championship. This is the contest most likely to produce drama. Ohio State’s got two losses, both in blowout fashion, and it would get the committee thinking about the merits of a conference champion Buckeye team over a one-loss Alabama team.
We’ve seen crazy stuff happen on championship weekend, but I don’t believe we’ll get the mother of all chaos scenarios. I would also hope that the committee sees that this ain’t your daddy’s Bama team, and keeps them out unless literally everyone else loses. They can’t keep losing the one game on their schedule that matters and still reap the benefits of not having to put it on the line for a conference championship.
So, there you go. Auburn controls its own destiny. Just where we thought we’d be a month ago at this time.