Could Auburn football be the SEC’s ‘cinderella’ ahead of expanded College Football Playoff?

The College Football Playoff will expand to 12 teams beginning this season, which will allow more teams to have a say in who wins the national championship.

Not only will teams such as Florida State or Georgia have better odds of not missing a bid again, but it also opens the door for Group of Five champions or even Cinderella teams to sneak into the party.

CBS Sports’ Tom Fornelli broke out his basketball mindset recently by submitting his picks for each Power conference’s Cinderella team to make the College Football Playoff. For the SEC, he has chosen the Auburn Tigers.

Fornelli says that Auburn’s chances of reaching the College Football Playoff are unlikely, but not impossible. The strength of a conference that features Georgia, Alabama, Ole Miss, and Tennessee will make it difficult for the Tigers to sneak in. However, Auburn’s history of creating chaos and keeping teams away from playoff bids could repeat itself in 2024.

If Auburn stays healthy this season, Fornelli says that the possibility of Aubur reaching a playoff bid remains wide open.

Plus, (Auburn is) a talented team. The Tigers don’t have the depth of talent others in the SEC have, but if they get lucky with injuries, they have enough to compete with just about anybody they’ll face during the regular season. I’m not overly high on Payton Thorne — Auburn’s passing attack was pretty bad last year — but I’ve learned over the years to give coach Hugh Freeze the benefit of the doubt with his QBs. He does a good job of wringing every ounce of ability out of them.

Fornelli also mentions the Tigers’ schedule as a factor that could cause Auburn to miss out on a bid. Auburn will face Georgia, Alabama, and Kentucky on the road while hosting Oklahoma and Texas A&M in SEC play. ESPN’s Football Power Index ranks Auburn’s schedule as the fifth-toughest in the nation despite missing Ole Miss, LSU, Tennessee, and Texas following the SEC’s decision to scrap divisional play.

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Story originally appeared on Auburn Wire