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Imagine an SEC where Alabama is the fourth best team. Hard to think that could happen but I see that as a very real possibility for the first time starting with the 2019-2020 season. Here's the case.
Alabama, Georgia, LSU and Florida are all ranked in the top 10 before the season begins. 2nd, 3rd, 6th and 8th respectively. And if you look at Alabama's schedule they do play one of these teams in the regular season - LSU in Week 9.
So LSU has the first real chance to finish higher ranked than Alabama just by beating them in that game, assuming Alabama doesn't go with just one loss and win the SEC Championship game. Given that Alabama also plays Texas A&M and Auburn its at least a decent chance Alabama is a 2 loss team this year.
And LSU has a ton of opportunity here. They play several ranked teams in - Alabama, Texas A&M, Florida, Texas and Auburn. If they win out or go with just one loss, they should finish #1. Easier said than done though.
Then there's Florida. They'll play LSU and Auburn. Otherwise their schedule isn't particularly strong but you could imagine an LSU win where Alabama loses to LSU and see how Florida could be ranked #2-#3, especially if they can play LSU in the SEC Championship game, even if they lose.
And finally you have Georgia. They play Notre Dame, Florida, Texas A&M and Auburn. Plenty of opportunity to make their case. They are ranked #3 in the country and have the clearest path to a playoff bid.
While its mathematically unlikely Alabama finishes 4th best in a stacked SEC conference, it is conceivable. For the first time in a very long time. What's most conceivable is the Tide finishes between 2nd and 4th in the conference as they have now three really good teams to contend with.
What do you think are the chances Alabama reigns supreme in the SEC again for 2019 and beyond? I honestly feel like LSU and Georgia will have a better season. But not Florida, in part because they have such a weak schedule they have to win the SEC Championship to have a strong case. Or win out. And I don't think they can beat LSU head to head.