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Jumbo Package: Would the SEC actually leave the College Football Playoff?

It’s not as much of a bluff you may think it is.

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NCAA Football: SEC Championship-Alabama vs Georgia John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Tuscaloosa’s own Deontay Wilder was honored yesterday, with an appropriate bronze statue in front of the Visitor Center.

The Bronze Bomber was on hand to give an emotional address and some heartfelt love to the city that has unconditionally loved him right back. His remarks, however, included perhaps the biggest news of late in the heavyweight fight game: despite most thinking he’d hang up the gloves after B2B losses to Tyson Fury, Wilder instead announced his return to the ring.

Though Fury is undoubtedly the bane of Wilder’s existence — and he is contractually bound to face Fury a third time — he will join Fury and Anthony Joshua in a crowded tier of contenders all vying for the unified belt currently held by Ukraine’s Oleksandr Oleksandrovych. The 35-year-old is considered by many to be the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world.

So, we’re not done just yet, and neither is the Bronze Bomber.

Lane Kiffin had an outstanding interview that was published yesterday, where he was remarkably candid about a lot of things, including the possibility that Saban could double his national title haul and that he seriously doubts Saban will ever retire — then he dropped the hammer on Texas A&M.

“People are going to criticize me for saying that ‘people are paying them to come in’ by saying that’s not what is happening. That is exactly what’s happening.”

It was the end of his answer to whether NIL will impact - or has impacted - the locker room.

Let’s make something clear: These comments were made prior to Nick Saban’s assertion that Texas A&M “bought every player.” It was also before a reported gag order on SEC coaches.

But, because of that, the comment comes off as even more genuine from a coach who has been known to mix things up a bit for attention. He made the comments - which mirror Saban’s, essentially - before the proverbial NIL stuff hit the fan last week. Oh sure, this topic was front and center on National Signing Day, but not to the degree it is since Saban dropped the hammer a week ago.

Very good stuff here.

CBS announced their broadcasting windows, and there is only one prime time slot for the network in 2022. That just so happens to also be the date that Texas A&M travels to Tuscaloosa for what is likely to be a very tense meeting between Saban and Jimbo. Can’t imagine anything other than a Bama/Oil Barner game under the lights:

CBS has announced its 2022 college football broadcast windows, including a pair of doubleheader days for the SEC on CBS.

Auburn’s Sept. 17 home game vs. Penn State begins the weekly SEC on CBS showcase, with kickoff set for 2:30 p.m. Central at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Also announced for broadcast were Georgia vs. Florida (Oct. 29, 2:30 p.m.), Arkansas at Missouri (Friday, Nov. 25, 2:30 p.m.) and the SEC championship game (Dec. 4, 3 p.m.).

The SEC will also broadcast a primetime doubleheader (2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.) on Oct. 8 (which happens to be the day of Texas A&M at Alabama) and an afternoon doubleheader (11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.) on Nov. 12. Game matchups will be announced 6-12 days prior to kickoff.

Might the SEC simply exit the College Football Playoff altogether?

It’s being framed as a scare tactic or hardball, but knowledgeable fans know what’s up: the SEC has dominated the national scene for almost 20 years now. More importantly, advertisers & networks know the quality of play and the number of viewers the SEC draws — six of the top 10 CFB television markets (including No. 1 and No. 3) and 13 of the Top 20 overall CFB markets are in the SEC footprint.

Don’t think for a second that Visa, Home Depot, Budweiser and countless others wouldn’t pay dearly for exclusivity deals, to sponsor, or to advertise heavily in a four-team home-and-away season-ending SEC round-robin slobberknocker.

Better yet, the league gets to keep all that money. No more frauds from the Big 10 and Big 12. No more P12 whining. No more pretending that even elite G5 teams belong on a field where their opponents can roll out four dozen five-stars. Bet we could even talk the ACC into coming along — Tobacco Road has 7 of the Top 25 CFB television markets as well, and includes much of the Florida corridor.

So, no, it’s not as far-fetched as commenters want to believe it to be; certainly not now with all that damned money at stake and CFP having been instantly turned into a semipro game by the rudderless NCAA “leadership.”

And, hey, good luck trying to sell a legitimate title game without Alabama, Georgia, Florida, LSU, or whomever else is stomping a mudhole through the nation that season. Did we mention this also encompasses Austin and Norman? Then double that legitimacy crisis if the ACC can be peeled away from the CFP for this even bigger cash bonanza, and someone like Clemson is also missing from the picture.

Think advertisers would rather have Baylor, Oregon, Pitt, and Ohio State? Or Alabama, Oklahoma, Clemson, and Florida?

I know what bet I’d take.

The future remains unwritten. Each league can forward its own proposed format, and it won’t take a unanimous vote to approve a new bracket, upping the possibility that the Alliance could be forced to live with a less favorable format than the one it turned down.

Within that vacuum, a nuclear option has emerged. The SEC could just take its ball and go home, fully exiting the CFP discussions and staging its own playoff.

The prospect first emerged in The Athletic in February, and on Monday Pete Thamel reported for ESPN that the topic will be discussed during next week’s league meetings in Destin.

Keep thinking it’s a bluff, I dare you.

You know who’s raving about Tua Tagovailoa? WR1. Listening to Tyreek Hill fanboy about Tua’s arm talent reminds me just how special he was as a player.

“I mean it’s nothing weird [left-handed spin]. At first, I thought it was going to be something crazy — the ball going all over the place, but Tua actually has probably one of the prettiest balls I’ve ever caught in my life. It’s very catchable,” Hill said Tuesday regarding Tagovailoa’s deep ball (via NFL Network). “I don’t want to continue because the more I talk, the more it sounds weird. Tua is a very accurate quarterback. That’s all I’m going to say.”

With Ced Wilson and Jaylen Waddle, the Dolphins easily have the fastest wide recieving corps in the NFL. If YAC is your thing, and you’re a fantasy football bro, then you’re gonna get a lot of them in 2022.

Eli Holstein gave an interview following his commitment to the Tide as the cornerstone of its 2023 class, and one sentence in particular caught me off guard.

“The coaching staff starting with Coach Saban and then Coach O’Brien as well,” Holstein told 247Sports Tuesday morning regarding his commitment, before going public with his plans. “They both played a key role in my recruitment. They have developed some great quarterbacks in the last couple years and they are still moving in that direction. I get to play SEC football which is the best in the country and I get to do it at a really high level.”

Did you ever think in your life that the Alabama Crimson Tide would become an NFL feeder for quarterbacks?

Stop lying. You did not.

Nate Oats had some very interesting perspective on just what went wrong with the 2021-2022 season that saw the schizoid Tide win 8 games against NET Q1 teams...and lose to three of the bottom five in the SEC en route to a disappointing first round SEC and NCAA exit.

“You got guys that put so much time into turning themselves into the players they want to be, and they want to showcase themselves as much as they can, but if all you’re trying to do is showcase yourself — and we had a little bit of that going on this year — it always backfires,” he told the crowd of more than a hundred. “It always does. That’s what happens.”

As we thought, there was a lot of selfishness on the team, with everyone freelancing. The difference between this year and last, is that there was no true veteran leader a la Herb to lead by example and keep young guys in check.

Again, we must remember, this is new to Coach Oats too. He has been coaching just six years, and this is the first time he’s had to manage 5-star, one-and-done type talent consistently. That’s a different world of managing expectations and ego from some gritty two-star kid from Albany.

As even Saban had to discover in his career, character and buying-in can matter a lot more to the bottom line than just pure talent alone.

Welp, that’s about it for now. As this is being written, Alabama is leading No. 5 Arkansas 4-3 heading into the 9th inning at Hoover. Win or lose, we’ll have that coverage for you, as the Tide is fighting furiously to make up ground from some bad late losses and get into NCAA regional play.

Roll Tide

Poll

Would the SEC actually exit the CFP?

This poll is closed

  • 54%
    If the money is right, and other conferences won’t play ball, sure.
    (436 votes)
  • 30%
    As an absolute last resort, with everything else falling apart.
    (241 votes)
  • 11%
    No, it’s a bluff.
    (90 votes)
  • 3%
    Undecided
    (29 votes)
796 votes total Vote Now