Despite the late-season loss, Alabama’s playoff chances are very high. The Crimson Tide has a very good shot at getting in the college football playoffs for the fourth year in a row. However, in order for them to get in, they will need help from other teams to do so.
Alabama’s Playoff Chances
When talking about chaos, the Alabama Crimson Tide are not usually a team on the outside in playoff talk. Last Saturday, however, Alabama suffered its first loss of the season to their rival Auburn 26-14. The loss gave Auburn the West Division title and a trip to the SEC Championship to face Georgia. It also put Alabama in a tough position to make the college football playoffs this late in the season. The Crimson Tide are the only team to appear in all 3 College Football playoffs.
According to FiveThirtyEight.com, the Crimson Tide have a 49% chance to get into the playoffs. That is the 4th best odds in the nation ahead of the Wisconsin Badgers (12-0) and the Georgia Bulldogs (11-1). There are a lot of attributes that the committee likes about the Alabama Crimson Tide. They will, however, judge the whole situation and their worth after conference championship weekend.
Tide May Be Ahead Of The Buckeyes
For the Tide to rely on one of the top four teams to lose isn’t as difficult as it sounds. The winners of the SEC Championship (Auburn vs. Georgia) and the ACC Championship (Clemson vs. Miami) will likely get in with no disagreements among the playoff selection committee members. How Alabama will get in will depend on the Big Ten and the Big 12 Conference Championships. If the Wisconsin Badgers (12-0) beats the Ohio State Buckeyes (10-2) in the Big Ten Championship and Oklahoma Sooners (11-1) beats the TCU Horned Frogs (10-2) in the Big 12 Championship, then both Wisconsin and Oklahoma will likely go in the playoffs ahead of Alabama. Here is where it gets interesting. If either Wisconsin or Oklahoma loses then Alabama might the favorite to be selected.
Regardless of if the Ohio State (10-2) wins the Big Ten Conference Championship, the committee may not solely be convinced of the attributes of their season and team as compared to the Alabama Crimson Tide. The Tide have only one loss to the Auburn Tigers. They have a better strength of win-and-loss (sixth in the nation) as compared to the Buckeyes (11th). The Tide have three wins over top 25 teams as opposed to Ohio State’s two wins, and the Tide have better strength of schedule ranking (46th) than the Buckeyes (50th).
Alabama’s best win comes in their week one victory over the Florida State Seminoles 24-7. This was when Florida State Quarterback Deondre Francois wasn’t injured. #19 LSU (24-10 score) and at Mississippi State (31-14 score) are also other key wins for #5 Alabama.
Ohio State has wins over Penn State Nittany Lions (39-38) and over the Michigan State Spartans (48-3). The Buckeyes also have two losses against the Oklahoma Sooners (31-16) and against an unranked Iowa Hawkeyes (55-24). Clemson’s unranked loss to Syracuse isn’t as harmful because it’s their only loss in the season. Ohio State not only has two losses but the second one was by 31 points to an unranked Iowa team. What makes Auburn different from Ohio State is that the Tigers came together after their two losses and beat two top teams (Georgia and Alabama).
How Bama Can Get The Fourth Spot
On the other side of the upset table, if the Wisconsin Badgers upset the Ohio State Buckeyes and TCU Horned Frogs (10-2) upset the Oklahoma Sooners (11-1), then Alabama will grab the final playoff spot. The Horned Frogs have two top-25 wins being at Oklahoma State (44-31) and vs. West Virginia Mountaineers (31-24). The Horned Frogs have two losses from top-25 teams but they occurred during the last five games of the season.
This is unless the Horned Frogs absolutely demolish the Sooners and the Buckeyes just barely beat the Badgers then you could have a slight argument of TCU over Ohio State. USC (10-2) could actually have a chance depending on their performance over the Stanford Cardinal (9-3) in the PAC-12 Conference Championship. The committee won’t put three 2-loss teams over a one-loss Alabama who has been consistent all year long. This is considering the fact if Auburn beats Georgia on Saturday.
Chances Of Alabama Making It In
Outside of the Georgia Bulldogs and Miami Hurricanes, who both play in their respective conference championships, the Crimson Tide have the biggest shot of getting into the College Football playoffs who are out of the top four. What hurts Alabama the most is that they will not be playing in a conference championship. They will need help from either Ohio State or TCU to get in. It will definitely help the Tide if both the teams win and fully secure a playoff spot for Alabama. One win then there is a chance, two wins is a definite vote in.
The Tide not to go to the SEC Championship shouldn’t be the one thing that keeps them out. Last year, the Ohio State Buckeyes didn’t win their division let alone their conference and they got in the playoffs. The Penn State Nittany Lions won the Big 10 Conference Championship but also experienced two losses. Alabama could see a deja vu situation similar to the 2011 College Football season. Alabama lost to LSU in the regular season, didn’t go to the SEC Championship, and went to the BCS Championship game. The Tide beat the undefeated #1 LSU Tigers 21-0 in the Championship game. It will be up to the playoff selection committee’s decision to fully determine Alabama’s worth as a playoff team. The final College Football Playoff rankings will be released on Sunday, noon Eastern on ESPN.