College Football Playoff preview from a Michigan State perspective

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Dec 6, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban and his team celebrate with the trophy after the 2014 SEC Championship Game against the Missouri Tigers at the Georgia Dome. Alabama defeated Missouri 42-13. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

Southeastern Conference (SEC)

The folks that champion the SEC would have no problem arguing that a team with two losses should make the CFP ahead of other conference teams with one loss. In fact, you could probably find some that would argue that two SEC teams with two losses should make the playoff.

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With eight teams in the preseason AP Top 25, it seems like there are key conference games every week. This fact leads to the perception that SEC teams never take a bad loss — no conference losses seem bad because more than likely the loss was against a Top 25 team.

Nov 15, 2014; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs running back Nick Chubb (27) runs against the Auburn Tigers during the second half at Sanford Stadium. Georgia defeated Auburn 34-7. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Number of institutions: 14

Conference reputation: Very good. Despite Ohio State’s dominance in the playoff last year, the SEC’s run of consecutive national championships from 2006 to 2012 makes it the premier conference in college football. The SEC has the best chance of getting two teams into the CFP due to its reputation.

Division format: East vs. West

Championship format: Championship game between division winners

Defending champ: Alabama — made CFP and lost in semifinals to Ohio State

AP Top 25 teams: Alabama (3), Auburn (6), Georgia (9), LSU (14), Ole Miss (17), Arkansas (18), Missouri (24), Tennessee (25)

Key non-conference matchups: Wisconsin at Alabama (Sept. 5), Oklahoma at Tennessee (Sept. 12)

Key conference matchups: Auburn at LSU (Sept. 19), Ole Miss at Alabama (Sept. 19), Alabama at Georgia (Oct. 3), Arkansas at Tennessee (Oct. 3), Arkansas at Alabama (Oct. 10), Georgia at Tennessee (Oct. 10), Missouri at Georgia (Oct. 17), Tennessee at Alabama (Oct. 24), Auburn at Arkansas (Oct. 24), Ole Miss at Auburn (Oct. 31), LSU at Alabama (Nov. 7), Arkansas at Ole Miss (Nov. 7), Georgia at Auburn (Nov. 14), Arkansas at LSU (Nov. 14), Tennessee at Missouri (Nov. 21), LSU at Ole Miss (Nov. 21), Missouri at Arkansas (Nov. 27), Alabama at Auburn (Nov. 28)

Five players to watch: Dak Prescott (Mississippi State), Leonard Fournette (LSU), Derrick Henry (Alabama), Nick Chubb (Georgia), Laquon Treadwell (Ole Miss)

Projected winner: Alabama followed by Auburn/Georgie/LSU combo

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