For the fourth year in a row, the Alabama Crimson Tide (11-1) are going to the College Football Playoffs. The Tide was voted in by the playoff committee over the Big Ten Conference Champion Ohio State Buckeyes. The committee felt Alabama was still worthy, despite not playing for the SEC championship. One of the main comparative issues was the lack of a conference championship from Alabama and Ohio State’s two losses. This is a similar situation last season where the Ohio State Buckeyes went into the College Football playoffs over their conference rivals and Big Ten Conference champions Penn State Nittany Lions, who also had two losses. Although you can make great points for both sides, many people including the committee, felt the Tide were more deserving. Regardless of no conference championship, Alabama grabbed the last playoff spot.
Alabama Grabs Final Playoff Spot
Playoffs Prove Worth Over BCS System
When the College Football Playoffs were created, it showed the point that the BCS system lacked a key factor. The BCS lacked the human factor needed to make the key decision of who is truly the better team. In the past, the BCS left off multiple undefeated teams in the 2004 Auburn Tigers, 2006 Boise State Broncos, and 2008 Utah Utes because it didn’t fit the computer criteria. The College Football Playoff’s goal is to find the 4 best College Football teams in the nation. On Sunday, the committee put the 4 best into the playoffs with Clemson, Oklahoma, Georgia, and Alabama all in. The performance area is the best and overall criteria needed to push Alabama into the playoffs.
There are some numbers that show the Buckeyes are more deserving than the Crimson Tide. Ohio State’s strength of schedule is ranked 36th while Alabama’s is ranked 47th. Both teams have the same amount of top-25 wins with Ohio State having a win over #2 Penn State and #4 Wisconsin. The Buckeyes also have four wins over Top 40 teams while Alabama has three wins. Here is a big difference between the two teams. The Crimson Tide have only one loss while Ohio State has two losses.
Alabama Squeaks In
Auburn almost had a playoff spot with two losses but their losses were from Clemson by eight points and LSU by four. The Ohio State Buckeyes lost to the Oklahoma Sooners by 15 points and Iowa Hawkeyes (now 7-5) by 31 points. That 31 point might’ve been forgiven by the BCS because of some generous numbers and the Big Conference Championship.
The committee not only saw the huge loss by Ohio State in early November by 31 points but they also noticed the consistency from Alabama. In the top 25 wins, the Buckeyes had three games with the total point differential of 52 points but 45 points came from the win over Michigan State. Alabama had three wins total 38 points but were pretty even from FSU (17), LSU (14), and Mississippi State (7). Alabama has shown more consistency throughout the season than Ohio State, even with wins over unranked opponents. The season-long resume was highly in Alabama’s favor as opposed to a few game from Ohio State.
The Committee Made A Statement Sunday
Last year, there was outrage by the Buckeyes overshadowing the Nittany Lions’ spot in the playoffs. Even though Penn State had the Big Ten Conference Championship, the Buckeyes had the more impressive resume and performance setting. This season, the Buckeyes had the Big Ten conference but were far from Alabama in terms of their performance. The CFB playoff committee made it known that conference championships does mean a lot but it doesn’t mean it’s the only requirement for the playoffs. For the committee to put Alabama in over Ohio State shows the bigger picture of teams rather than simple thinking. The committee put politics of conference championships aside to simply out best and stronger team in the playoffs.
The committee was also highly impressed with Alabama’s consistency throughout the season. Alabama has been ranked first in 11 of the 15 total weeks of the college football season. Despite what outsiders say about Alabama’s schedule, the Tide has been rolling all season. What also made Alabama a playoff team is that they are more efficient. Alabama is ranked first in overall efficiency while the Buckeyes are fifth. Alabama is more efficient on offense (tied for second) and defense (fourth) as opposed to Ohio State on offense (fourth) and on defense (eleventh).
The playoff committee has a list of criteria that makes a team playoff worthy. Alabama’s performance on the field, their efficiency, and consistency makes them a relevant team to compete in the playoffs than Ohio State. Injuries have plagued the Crimson Tide on defense especially at the Linebacker corp. With almost a month rest, the Tide’s defense will one of the best units in the playoffs to face against. The last time Ohio State was in the playoffs (last season) they were handled by Clemson 31-0.
Going Forward; Clemson vs. Alabama, Part III
Of all the teams in the playoffs, the Crimson Tide have the most with the chip on their shoulder. They are back in the playoff scene after losing in the National Championship last season to Clemson. After the Tide edged a win over Mississippi State, reporters and experts were very critical of their worth as a playoff team. Alabama is also going to be playing with a tenacious mentality after winning to win their division and the SEC Championship. In 2011, Alabama didn’t win the West division or the SEC Championship but beat LSU in the National Championship.
Alabama remains the only teams to appear in all 4 of the College Football playoffs. Fast forward six years later, Alabama will once again take that rare role as an underdog going forward. The highly-anticipated rematch of Clemson vs. Alabama will take place in the Sugar Bowl on New Years Day. Even though this game won’t be a National Championship game, it will be one of the best games of the season.
The Alabama is still a favorite to win the National Championship even though they are fourth in the rankings. Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook has the Crimson Tide with the best odds to win the National Championship at 2-1. ESPN’s FPI currently gives the Tide a 35% to win the Championship as well.