The road to the College Football Playoff is still pretty simple for the SEC: Just win, baby.
Tuesday night's set of rankings gave us the same story from the last couple of weeks for the SEC, and the narrative for the league continues to be that Alabama (10-1, 7-1 SEC), which stayed at No. 2, just has to beat lowly Auburn this weekend in the Iron Bowl and then Florida (10-1, 7-1) in the SEC championship game to make the playoff. The good news for the Crimson Tide, who thrashed Charleston Southern 56-6 over the weekend, is that they are heavy favorites over the Tigers and should be big favorites against the Gators.
Speaking of Florida, the Gators took quite the tumble after beating 2-9 Florida Atlantic 20-14 in overtime at home. Florida dropped from No. 8 to No. 12. So here's the interesting thing about the Gators: Can they still make it into the playoff by winning out? SEC purists and Gators fans will probably scoff at that question, but there's justification to my hesitation to say Florida is a lock. The Gators have displayed one of the country's worst offenses of late and beating Vanderbilt and FAU at home by just one score isn't impressive at all. Florida even struggled to put up points on a bad South Carolina team before facing the Owls.
Chances are, beating No. 13 Florida State (9-2, 6-2 ACC) and No. 2 Alabama would be enough to convince the committee that the Gators might not be pretty, but they're winners. I mean, if you take down this Alabama team -- which is currently playing better than anyone -- you'd think it'd be too hard to keep them out. But the eye test is important, and Florida has failed it recently.
You also have to wonder if the Gators would make dramatic enough of a jump over the next two weeks. If No. 3 Oklahoma (10-1,7-1 Big 12) and No. 4 Iowa (11-0, 7-0 Big Ten) win out, they are probably going to be locks to stay in the top four. Chances are, the Big Ten champ is in, regardless. But keep an eye on No. 6 Notre Dame (10-1) because the Fighting Irish currently have the best loss in the country (No. 1 Clemson on the road). Yeah, Notre Dame didn't look good last weekend against Boston College, but the Irish have looked better than the Gators as a whole this season, and that could sway the committee. And what if someone other than Oklahoma wins the Big 12? Would you take Florida or a one-loss Big 12 champ at this point?
Obviously, none of this is a done deal, and the Gators can only worry about taking care of their own business, but if the committee really weighs the eye test heavily, the Gators could be in trouble, even if they win out.