BCS history shows SEC unlikely to get 'minimum' of 2 teams in 4-team Playoff

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Arkansas coach Bret Bielema argues otherwise.

Second-year Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema left behind one of the stablest jobs in college football to take on a rebuild in the SEC West. Why'd he do that?

One explanation:

The presence of at least one SEC team per year in the new College Football Playoff (whose selection committee is chaired by Bielema's boss, Arkansas AD Jeff Long) is taken as a given at this point. The conference's champion has ranked among the country's two best teams at the end of the regular season for eight years now, with at least another team or two usually elsewhere in the top 10.

And two could make it in, in certain years. But a minimum of two? As in, three or four could make it? Let's review how the Playoff would've shaped up over the last 15 years, or the lifespan of the BCS.

We can assume the hypothetical 2013 Playoff would've included both Alabama and Auburn, along with Florida State and either Baylor, Michigan State, or Stanford. Going back some more, our Bill Connelly found after reviewing the alternate Playoff history of the 1998-2012 seasons that two SEC bids would've been all but assured in 2011 and definite possibilities in 2012, 2009, 2008, 2007, and 2003. If we randomize those, we could say the SEC would've gotten two Playoff bids something like three to six times since 1998 ... but never three teams in a single year.

We won't really know how the Playoff committee's vague criteria will play out (despite the weekend release of a mock committee ranking) until we see the first Playoff field announced this December, but unless the committee acts in a fashion we're not expecting, there's a scant chance of three teams from a single conference.

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