If CFP Expands, What's the Fate of the SEC Championship Game?


Hall of Fame
Apr 1, 2004
Boone, NC
I thought this might be a good discussion separated from the thread on playoff expansion. Let's keep this about the SECCG with the assumption the playoff expands.

What does the SEC (and other conferences do) about the conference championship game? What do you see as the pros and cons to keep playing them?

I think all of us would agree that up to this point the SECCG has been good for our conference and for Alabama, but, with the extra games and extra spots that will open up in an expanded playoff, will these games become unnecessary and/or harmful to the conference and her best teams each year?
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Isaiah 63:1

Dec 8, 2005
Probably at 35k or in an airport somewhere
If we end up with a 12 team playoff format with autoquals and at-large bids a la March Madness, the SECCG will tend mostly to help SEC teams. In most years, the higher ranked team was getting in anyway. If that team wins the SECCG, it will tend to help its seeding. In the rare event of a substantial underdog winning (2001 LSU; 2005 UGa; that's the total list from 29 SECCGs), it would add an SEC team that otherwise wouldn't have made it (the underdog), while the favorite still gets in at-large.

In 2017, under this format one-loss Alabama still gets an at-large; maybe AU even gets in. Unless the SEC becomes weak, it's hard to see a realistic scenario where the SEC is worse off. That said, 12 is too many...


Hall of Fame
Aug 14, 2002
Birmingham & Warner Robins
Expanding to 12 is flat out stupid. Consider the following:
  • When the regular season ends, coaches like Saban will have an army of analysts breaking down every team they might face, while the coaching staff focuses on player development.
  • Programs with depth will adjust rotations to protect starters.
  • Conference championships, as noted, will almost certainly go away.
More teams will be able to say "we made the playoffs," but the teams making the final four will not change appreciably. You could accomplish the same thing by expanding to 6 teams.


TideFans Legend
Jun 9, 2009
Beautiful Cullman, AL
I can't see the conference championships going anywhere especially for the SEC and Big Ten. They make way too much money. Now, the Pac 12's game has not worked out so well, but I'd bet it still turns a profit. Same for the ACC. And I believe the Big 12 was always a money maker before they stopped it, and I'm sure it still is now that they've reinstated it.

What could happen is the regular seasons go back to 11 games. But there will be push back against that... the 12th game basically gave the big schools another high dollar home game.


Dec 7, 2001
Knoxville, TN
teams want a piece of the playoff money pie. this will hurt the New Years Day 6 bowls ( unless all of them are used for the 12 teams but only 4 of those games will be played on the same day.)

PA Tide Fan

Dec 11, 2014
Lancaster, PA
If the question is whether or not they will continue to be played I'd say yes. We still have them in basketball and they are almost meaningless there. They will continue because of tradition and it's still a trophy a school can add to their trophy case. A person has to wonder though how much effort a team will make to win it if both teams are already qualified for the playoff.
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Hall of Fame
Aug 8, 2011
Birmingham, AL
Probably BYU and Notre Dame as independents would benefit greatly, not being part of conference (should the conferences maintain the championship games). They play a 12 game schedule, go undefeated or one loss and most likely they fall into one of the 5-12 slots at the very least in this proposed 12 game playoff. So they are “in” without the extra championship game. And, most likely in the case of Notre Dame, there would be a good chance in 12-0 or 11-1 season, they would be one of the 5-8 seeds that get a home game. Not a bad trade off.
Meanwhile you could have two one loss conference division champs go head to head. One walks away with a second loss and without a chance of getting in.
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Hall of Fame
Jan 7, 2008
Cullman, Al
The days of the super conference may be numbered. I can see a return to 8 team leagues and with this nonsense about to happen it would be better for everyone involved, especially the players.
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Hall of Fame
May 13, 2009
Mobile, AL
For me the Pros and Cons is simple.

Pro: The SECCG crowns an Undisputed SEC Champion

Con: No SECCG means a return to Split Co-Champions

I never liked the existence of Co-Champions. For me it's in the same realm of having Tie Games which some have said is like kissing their sister.

It's No Bueno.

I hope the SEC always has the SECCG


Feb 24, 2017
Can't have co-champions. I don't know about other conferences but it's still a big deal to win the SEC. The idiot media downplays it every year, says it's meaningless, only the playoffs matter. I think kids still dream of winning the SEC, especially the southern ones.
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TideFans Legend
Apr 26, 2008
South Alabama
Can't have co-champions. I don't know about other conferences but it's still a big deal to win the SEC. The idiot media downplays it every year, says it's meaningless, only the playoffs matter. I think kids still dream of winning the SEC, especially the southern ones.
The original idea for the SECCG was to boost the SEC Champ in rankings during the poll era to compete with Miami, Nebraska, and FSU who were getting inflated. The extra game resulted in 3 NCs in the 90’s and 5 opportunities. But most conferences quickly went to the CCG setup and Roy Kramer unleashed the BCS upon us to counter it

Under the BCS the conference championship has lessened in worth overall. Yes when you get two high ranking teams it matters but its not as necessary as it used to be. Really the important prize is the national championship and not the conference title. Do we want to trade titles with 2011 LSU and 2017 UGA? It’s became more of a pride title and a resume builder than a core requirement to winning a national championship.

Teams without a conference title from 01- present that played in the national championship competition

01: Nebraska lost by 20+ to Colorado got in the NCG
03: OU lost by 28 but still played for a national championship
04: USC doesn’t play a conference championship
05 USC doesn’t play a conference championship
10 Oregon doesn’t play a conference championship
11: Alabama wins as an alternative
12: Notre Dame plays 12 games
15: Oklahoma gets in without playing a conference championship
16: Ohio St gets in without playing a conference championship or winning it
17: Alabama wins as an alternative
18: Notre Dame plays 12 and gets in
20: Notre Dame loses by 24 in a conference championship and still gets in.

The SECCG has only costed the SEC one national championship bout in 2001. It’s more important for a team on the bubble than a team firmly in. Had Bama lost to Florida this year then it probably only changes two things. 1) Alabama would play OHIO St in the semis and 2) Florida gets in over Notre Dame.

Right now we have a hybrid of the poll system and the BCS. But the voting is done completely by humans and they make up some of the most arbitrary rulings. How Florida didn’t plummet after losing to LSU is beyond me. But it just proves it’s a popularity contest that favors huge fan bases and P5 conferences. So it’s more likely that 4/5 power 5 conference teams will make up the playoffs every year as long as they are under 2 losses. So it really means the conference championship is only a point of emphasis when you have a top 5 game.

Is the SECCG important? yes
Is it necessary? No
Could we do without it: Probably
Will it go away: No
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