CFB 2024: Dancing with the Delighted Dozen

Jon Joseph Editorials

Of course, it is far too early! But that’s part of the fun of CFB Pigskin Prophecy, where truly no man is a prophet in his own land, except for those who reside in the desert, of course. I’m not ready to call the Delighted Dozen but I am prepared to put forth those at the front of the line to be invited to the 2024 Playoff (PO) Ball by the Gurus of Grapevine, the Playoff Committee (PC.) I pulled Mr. FishDuck from his fun at studying NFL spreads and NFL Defensive Player of the Year odds to discuss next year’s exciting 12 team playoff.

[Warning: Residents of Tallahassee, Florida, and Fans of Florida’s Indigenous Peoples’ Team, this article contains graphic PC content that may not be fit for Seminole audiences. Chop ‘Till You Drop!]

Using the PC’s ultimate 2023 PO ranking and adjusting for upcoming conference realignment, in 2024, five B1G teams, four SEC teams, one B12 team – Arizona, one ACC team – FSU, and one G5 team – CUSA’s Liberty would constitute the inaugural 12-team field; The Delighted Dozen. I expect this will be the case in 2024 and 2025 before the PO morphs in a few ways or the other comes 2026.

Seven SEC teams were included in the PC’s final ranking: No. 3 Texas; No. 4 Alabama; No. 6. Georgia; No. 9. Missouri; No. 11 Ole Miss; No. 12. Oklahoma, No. 13. LSU and No. 21 Tennessee finished in the Top 25, compared to five B1G teams, so let’s start with the SEC contenders and then look at the B1G contenders in an article to follow.

Steve Sarkisian has rebuilt Texas impressively. (Screenshot from Texas Longhorn Video)

This is another reason to start with the SEC. In the BCS, the SEC went 8-1 vs. non-SEC opponents. In the 4-Team Invitational, the SEC went 14-3 against non-conference opponents with Alabama going 8-3. Alabama won six titles in the BCS/Final 4 process. Roll Tide!

Sports Illustrated College Football Headquarters has ranked the 2024 SEC schedules by strength of schedule (SOS) including the out-of-conference (OOC) games. These rankings and the final 2023 PO rankings are used below.

Scheduling matters. And hopefully, SOS will matter more, beyond simple win and loss calculations, when the POC seeds the first Delighted Dozen PO field. The 2024 ranking will not, of course, ipso facto match the 2023 ultimate ranking, but is a good place to start when analyzing the teams. Schools like No. 12 Oklahoma, No. 13 LSU, No. 21 Tennessee, and Texas A+M could rise and make the PO field but I am not including these two among the top SEC candidates except as others that could contend.

No. 3 – 12-1 –TEXAS – 2024 SEC SOS – 14 (of 16) – Opponent’s 2023 Record – 80-66

In 2024, Texas will play only three games against teams that won ten or more games in 2023. OOC at No. 1 Michigan. Neutral site vs. Oklahoma and Georgia in Austin. Georgia visits Austin the same weekend as the annual Formula 1 event. Upscale hotel rooms in Austin for the weekend of October 19th are going for $14,000.00 a night!

Like Oklahoma, Texas will drop from eight to nine conference games. In addition to the game at Michigan OOC, Texas will play Colorado State, UTSA, and LA.-Monroe. Welcome to the SEC!

And welcome back Heisman candidate QB Quinn Ewers.

Alabama won’t rely on miracles in 2024, with the team they return. (Screenshot from CBS Sports Video)

No. 4 – 12-1 ALABAMA – 2024 SEC SOS – 4 – Opponent’s 2023 Record – 91-55

In 2024, Bama plays No. 6. Georgia and No. 9. Missouri in Tuscaloosa. Bama plays No. 12. Oklahoma (the Saturday before the Iron Bowl,) No. 13 LSU, and No.21 Tennessee on the road. Bama shares a B1G opponent with Oregon, playing an OOC game at Wisconsin. But in September, and not chilly November.

Georgia at Alabama, September 28th, is a regular season game that is a long time coming. These two last played in the regular season in 2008. One reason teams that played eight conference games are 9-0 in the PO. Bama is 9-4 vs. UGA since 1992. Hotel rooms for this game in Tuscaloosa are cheap. Only $10,000.00 for the night.

This game will have a big impact on early 2024 PO Ct rankings. Two Heisman contenders, Bama’s Jalen Milroe and UGA’s Carson Beck will be going at it.

No. 6 Georgia 12-1 – SEC SOS – 6 – Opponents 2023 Record – 86-59

Folks complained about how easy the UGA 2023 schedule was on the Dawgs putative run for a three-peat. There should be no such complaints coming in 2024. Georgia opens with No. 22 Clemson in Atlanta, and plays on the road at No. 4 Alabama, No. 3 Texas, and No. 11 Ole Miss with a home game versus No. 21. Tennessee.

Think Kirby Smart might come back with a chip on his shoulder in 2024? (Screenshot from ESPN Video)

In 2024 UGA XI is being fed a schedule of Filet Mignon and not Hamburger. I’m shocked! In 2024, Georgia again finished with the No. 1 class of recruits. Danno learned from two recruiting masters, Nick Saban and Kirby ‘He So’ Smart.

No. 9 Missouri 10-2 – 2024 SEC SOS – 16. – 2023 Opponent’s Record – 63-81.

Somebody at SEC HQ in Birmingham likes these Tigers. And the Mizzou AD did a great job of culling Massachusetts for OOC opponents. In addition to playing Boston College in Como, and at UMass (did he consult Rob?), Mizzou also plays Murray State and the Buffalo Bulls, not the Bills, OOC.

Mizzou plays two opponents that won 10 or more games in 2023, Bama in Tuscaloosa and Oklahoma at home. By SEC standards, this schedule is a piece of cornbread with a side of chitlins. Studs QB Brady Cook and WR Luther Burden III return for Mizzou.

Even Lane Kiffin has to ponder about how good his Rebels will be in 2024. (Screenshot from RSHighlights Video)

No. 11. Ole MISS 10-2 – 2024 SEC SOS – 13 – Opponent’s 2023 Record – 81-65

Happy 2024 Coach Lane Kiffin! The self-proclaimed Portal King is killing it in the transfer portal and while I hope he shows up on Christmas Eve, there is no Saint Nick on the 2024 schedule. Plus, you get to consume three OOC cupcakes and hold a Wake at home and Georgia and Oklahoma are visiting Oxford.

The toughest road game is at LSU. The Kiffs defeated the Bayou Bengals 55-49 in 2023 in regulation, not OT, and the Heisman Trophy winner has left the LSU building. The best of the USC QBs to have transfer-portaled out of Troy, Jaxson Dart, is coming back. Along with solid talent on offense and improved via the portal, on paper, defense.

Get Your Popcorn Ready in the Grove. Ole Miss has a legitimate shot at playing in the 2024 SEC Champ game.

Others who could go PO dancing in 2024: No. 13. LSU – SEC SOS 11 but breaking in a new QB; No. 21. Tennessee – SEC SOS 15 but also breaking in a new QB, No. 12 Oklahoma – SEC SOS 3, breaking in a new pitcher (Thanks for Dillon,) and Blue Chip Roster A+M under new HC, Mike Elko.

The Over/Under for SEC teams dancing with the Delighted Dozen in the 2024 PO, I like the SEC to go Over 4. Especially with ESecPN being the broadcast partner, right Herbie? Give me your feedback on the free, and only civilized Oregon message-board, the Our Beloved Ducks Forum.

Jon Joseph
Aiken, South Carolina
Top Screenshot from B1G Network Video

New 2024 FishDuck Publishing Schedule….

During the off-season the publishing schedule will consist of articles on Mondays and Tuesdays. Do keep checking as new articles could be published during the week when a writer has something to say.

In mid-August of 2024, we will go back to the seven-days-a-week of articles during the football season as we did in the football season of 2023.

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