TideSports reviewed Alabama’s case to make the 2017 College Football Playoff here.
But the Crimson Tide won’t be the only team in the discussion. Here’s the argument that will be presented against Alabama, and some possible scenarios that may play out that increase or decrease its odds of making the field of four.
The Case Against Alabama
- Not a conference or division champion
- No chance to improve its resume while other top teams play ranked opponents in conference championship games
- No victories over top-15 teams
- Strength of schedule ranked 17th by WarrenNolan.com and 54th by the Sagarin computer rankings
- Lost to only top-tier team it faced
- Season-opening signature victory against Florida State – ranked No. 3 in the preseason – lost its luster as the Seminoles floundered
- Eye test: struggled at Mississippi State, wasn’t overpowering against LSU, allowed Texas A&M to hang around
The winners of the SEC Championship Game (No. 2 Auburn vs. No. 6 Georgia) and the Atlantic Coast Conference title game (No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 7 Miami) are expected to be included in the four-team playoff field.
No. 3 Oklahoma is also expected to be selected if it defeats No. 11 TCU in the Big 12 Championship Game, as is fourth-ranked Wisconsin if it beats No. 8 Ohio State in the Big Ten title game.
That means Alabama needs an upset – or maybe more than one – to have a chance of earning a spot.
The website FiveThirtyEight.com
Here are the website’s odds on Alabama making the field in several scenarios:
- If TCU upsets Oklahoma and the other top-four teams win, Alabama’s odds go up to 51 percent. Alabama’s chances are also rated at 51 percent if TCU, Ohio State and Georgia win.
- If Ohio State defeats Wisconsin and the other top-four teams win, UA’s odds go up to 35 percent.
- If both Ohio State and TCU win along with Clemson and Auburn, Alabama’s chances are rated at 46 percent.
- If all of the teams ranked in the top four lose, Alabama’s chances peak at 53 percent.
If Alabama Doesn’t Make the Playoff
If the Crimson Tide is left out of the national title picture, it will play in one of the so-called New Year’s Six bowls.
The most likely scenario would have Alabama versus either Clemson or Miami – the loser of the ACC title game – in the Orange Bowl on Dec. 30 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.
The Orange Bowl is contracted to host the top available ACC team and the highest-ranked team not contracted elsewhere from the SEC, Big Ten or Notre Dame. Since the Sugar and Rose bowls (which traditionally feature SEC and Big Ten teams) are hosting playoff games, that leaves the top-rated team among the non-playoff participants from those conferences available. With Alabama ranked fifth by the CFP committee going into the league championship games, UA is the likely pick.
There’s also a chance Alabama could end up in the Cotton Bowl, which will be played Dec. 29 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. With a likely matchup between the Big 12 and an SEC or Big Ten team, Alabama could land here.
The two other major bowls seem like remote possibilities at best. The Fiesta Bowl will be played Dec. 30 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Scottsdale, Ariz.,with a possible matchup between the Big Ten runner-up and the Pac-12 champion. The Peach Bowl will be played Jan. 1 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, with the highest-ranked team from the non-major Group of Five conferences – Central Florida held that position at the end of the regular season – against the SEC Championship Game loser as the most likely matchup.