HOOVER, ALA. | If the college football playoff was in place two years ago, Georgia‚Äôs SEC championship game loss to LSU in 2012 probably would have sent the Bulldogs to the Sugar Bowl to play Kansas State instead of to the Capital One Bowl to play Nebraska.
That‚Äôs the way Bill Hancock saw it when he broke down playoff and bowl selection scenarios under the new system. Hancock is in charge of the four-team playoff, which replaces the BCS system.
His Georgia scenario was made using the 2017 playoff sites.
Hancock said Wednesday at SEC Media Days that the 13-person selection committee will select the ‚Äúbest four teams, period. No strings attached.‚Äù
Even if that means rematches like the Iron Bowl.
An Alabama-Auburn matchup could have happened last season in the semifinals since the committee won‚Äôt switch seeds to avoid rematches in the semifinals.
‚ÄúI think the playoff system is something college football wanted,‚Äù LSU coach Les Miles said. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a quality attempt. I think playoffs at some point and time will expand. I think the playoff will be equally as kind to the SEC.‚Äù
The SEC won seven straight BCS national titles before Florida State beat Auburn last season.
FRESHMAN BACK CREATES BUZZ AT LSU
LSU freshman running back Leonard Fournette is as good as advertised, according to another Tiger at the position.
‚ÄúMan, I know y‚Äôall have heard of him,‚Äù senior Terrence McGee said. ‚ÄúWho hasn‚Äôt? I think he‚Äôs going to have a great year. I‚Äôm looking forward to him having a great year. ‚Ä¶Who wouldn‚Äôt want to play in a backfield with that guy, a guy they compare to Adrian Peterson?‚Äù
The 6-foot-1, 224-pound Fournette, Scout.com‚Äôs No. 1 rated prospect nationally, is from nearby New Orleans.
Even before preseason practices begin, Miles touted him for what he‚Äôs done already on campus including ‚Äúpursuing the classroom. He‚Äôs got great grades. He‚Äôs quiet. He‚Äôs not assuming. He‚Äôs humble in his approach. I think it‚Äôs exactly where he needs to be. He expects himself to be something very special.‚Äù
TARGETING PENALTY TWEAKED BUT NOT DE-EMPHASZIED
Despite some controversy last year on the new targeting penalty, it remains a point of emphasis this season.
Now the 15-yard penalty will be wiped out on simply targeting calls if they are overturned but not if a personal foul such as roughing the passer is also called.
SEC coordinator of officials Steve Shaw said fans need to listen up for an official‚Äôs call on the field.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a subtle part of his announcement,‚Äù Shaw said. ‚ÄúIf you hear him announce personal foul/roughing the passer with targeting regardless of the review the 15-yard penalty (will be assessed).‚Äù
The targeting penalty rule has been tweaked to now say that ‚ÄúNo player shall target and make forcible contact…‚Äù instead of ‚Äúinitiate‚Äù forcible contact. The penalty is in place to enhance player safety.
Shaw also addressed the SEC using an eighth official this season with one crew.
He said there‚Äôs a misconception that it is being added for faster pace.
‚ÄúThe intent is not to go faster or slower but to help our guys officiate the game better,‚Äù he said.
THIS AND THAT
Missouri coach Gary Pinkel called claims that fast-pace offenses create player safety issues ‚Äúfiction,‚Äù because he‚Äôs never heard a team doctor or trainer express concern about the health of one of his teams due to the tempo. Arkansas‚Äô Bret Bielema is on the other side of the issue. ‚ÄúI‚Äôm probably more of a reality-based movie guy more than fiction, I guess. I think I deal more in what I know, what I see, what I believe. ‚Ä¶ Missouri defensive end Markus Golden on former teammate Michael Sam coming out publicly as gay earlier this year. ‚ÄúAt Mizzou, it really wasn‚Äôt a secret,‚Äù Golden said. ‚ÄúHe‚Äôs just a real guy. That‚Äôs what I like about him, he‚Äôs a real dude and he‚Äôs a good dude. I hope good stuff keeps happening for him. At Mizzou, he was like a brother.‚Äù Said Pinkel: ‚ÄúI hope five years from now, there are no discussions about this, that we‚Äôve moved on. We respect people for what they are and what they do.‚Äù ‚Ä¶ Miles on Tiger Stadium expanding to 102,321: ‚ÄúIf you thought we were loud before, we just got louder.‚Äù ‚Ä¶ Bielema quickly moved past last season‚Äôs 3-9 season, including 0-8 in the SEC. ‚ÄúI‚Äôll take a minute to talk about last year. That‚Äôs about all I need to do.‚Äù He said the biggest difference going from Wisconsin to Arkansas was ‚Äúwinning vs. losing. It‚Äôs quite simple. I didn‚Äôt come here to lose.‚Äù