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Gus Malzahn: 'Good chance' SEC could put two in playoffs
Oct. 9, 2014

Greg Robinson, left, celebrated with Melvin Ray after an Auburn touchdown at the BCS title game last season

By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- Auburn's Gus Malzahn was on ESPN selling the rough-and-tumble SEC West on Thursday, and why not? Four SEC West teams are ranked in the Top 10, and two of them, No. 2 Auburn meets No. 3 Mississippi State meet at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in Starkville.
National implications now and forever for the first four-team national playoff?
"I think there's a good chance there will be two teams from the West, or at least two teams from the SEC, make the Final Four," Malzahn said.
Malzahn also said both Auburn and Alabama were deserving of the the playoffs last year, had the playoffs existed, during an interview on ESPN's Mike & Mike. Auburn defeated Alabama 34-28 on the last play of the game, then went on to win the SEC Championship and play in the BCS title game last season.
Malzahn said he is not changing his strategy for the new playoff system. 
"Not at all, especially in our league. Our goal is to make the SEC Championship Game, win it, repeat. If you do that, it's going to take care of itself."
Auburn will have work to do after Mississippi State. There are two more SEC West teams ranked in the Top 10 still on Auburn's schedule, co-No. 3 Ole Miss and No. 7 Alabama, plus No. 14 Texas A&M. From the SEC East, there's No. 13 Georgia.
Auburn has already beaten No. 17 Kansas State.
As far as Saturday goes, Malzahn said Auburn thought Mississippi State, "was one of the best defenses we faced last year, and they have nine starters back. And their offense is playing as well as anybody in college football right now."
As for his team, Malzahn said quarterback Nick Marshall "is one of the better quarterbacks in the entire country. He's thrown the ball extremely well. We've still been able to run the ball with our zone-read. Our defense has really worked hard on stopping the run. Our defense has gotten off to a very good start. We've got some young guys in the secondary that each week have gotten better."
Malzahn chuckled when he was asked if he'd offer extra off time during Auburn's bye week next week if his Tigers were especially good at Mississippi State.
"Our guys are motivated enough, especially for this game," Malzahn said.

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:



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