SEC playoff tracker: Nov. 25


It's down to Alabama and Florida as the SEC's hope of reaching the College Football Playoff. Here's a look at where things stand:

Alabama Crimson Tide

Record: 10-1 (7-1)

Rank: No. 2

Next big obstacle: It’s tempting to look ahead to the SEC championship game and Florida, but you can’t take the Iron Bowl for granted. Auburn might be a 6-5 team, but anything can happen in a rivalry game of this magnitude.

Reason for optimism: Chances are you already know how bad Auburn is this season. Well, Florida hasn’t looked that much better the past few weeks, with shaky wins against Vanderbilt, South Carolina and Florida Atlantic. So the level of competition isn’t exactly stifling for Alabama to win out and reach the playoff.

Cause for concern: If Florida coach Jim McElwain can find a way to craft a game plan that suits quarterback Treon Harris and generate some semblance of an offense, the whole dynamic of the SEC championship game changes. Because as bad as the Gators have looked lately, it’s not the defense’s fault. If Vernon Hargreaves III & Co. can limit Alabama running back Derrick Henry and put the burden on the offensive line and quarterback Jake Coker, Alabama could be in trouble. -- Alex Scarborough

Florida Gators
Record: 10-1 (7-1)
Rank: No. 12

Next big obstacle: After narrowly surviving FAU in overtime on Saturday, Florida now takes on No. 13 Florida State in the Swamp. A couple of weeks ago, this game seemed like one Florida could win. Now the Seminoles seem like a strong favorite against this struggling Florida offense.

Reason for optimism: For as bad as this offense has been over the past month, the Gators still own one of the nation's best defenses. That defense will always keep the Gators in games, even against teams with defenses like Florida State and Alabama. Florida has forced an SEC-high 24 turnovers and leads the SEC with a turnover margin of plus-10. It also leads the SEC with 88 points off turnovers. The Gators are also averaging 3.3 sacks per game and have allowed just 19 touchdowns this season.

Cause for concern: The offense was dominated by a FAU defense that had allowed 470-plus yards in four of its previous six games. Florida's offensive line and Harris' play have regressed since the loss to LSU, as Harris has completed less than 50 percent of his passes in two of those four games and has thrown four interceptions over the past three games. Florida State and Alabama both have top-20 defenses and are averaging more than two sacks per game. -- Edward Aschoff