First of two parts
When LSU pulled off a two-point conversion in overtime at Baton Rouge to make it 32-31, someone had to suggest a possible route for Alabama to the national championship
win and hand Alabama its second loss of the season, conventional – and common sense – wisdom that the Crimson Tide was out of the national championship picture. No team with two losses has ever made the playoffs, and Bama was also eliminated from the Southeastern Conference Championship Game when LSU beat Arkansas.
The message from Alabama was a reset of goals and a promise to end the season strong and land a nice bowl bid. Some are already projecting the tide into the Orange Bowl to confront Clemson.
However, it is impossible not to dream.
Here are the top 10 from the most recent college football playoff selection committee rankings with two remaining regular season games plus conference championship games:
- Georgia 10-0
- Ohio State 10-0
- Michigan 10-0
- TCU 10-0
- Tennessee 9-1
- LSU 8-2
- southern cal. 9-1
- Alabama 8-2
- Clemson 9-1
- Utah 8-2
So what could happen?
First off, Alabama would have to get past Austin Peay and Auburn.
Now for the easy part.
Georgia should win. In the SEC championship game, it would help for a crucial win over LSU, giving the Tigers their third loss.
Ohio State and Michigan play each other. A decisive win by either side is helpful, but not a guarantee.
TCU has a tough game against Baylor on Saturday and then an opportunity to win – or lose – the conference championship game.
Tennessee is safe and fairly sure to join the Ohio State-Michigan game winner (or Big Ten champion out of that pair) and Georgia, taking at least three of the four spots.
Southern Cal has UCLA, no certainty of a win, this weekend and the Pac-12 champion is up in the air, especially after Oregon and Utah both lost last week.
Clemson is on a suspect Miami team, but the Tigers were beaten by a Notre Dame team with three losses, so anything is possible.
Throw in a North Carolina team, 9-1 and headed for a likely match-up against Clemson in the championship game, but the ACC — like the Pac-12 — doesn’t have much cache.
The two biggest concerns are TCU’s win, including the Big 12 championship, and the selection committee, which uses two SEC and two Big Ten teams. And of course there’s football, where other things can happen…although time is ticking.
Alabama’s losses are good, against No. 5 Tennessee and No. 6 LSU, both on the road and both in the last game of the game. Unfortunately, Bama doesn’t have very good wins, but trainer Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide has a story on his page that says, “They’re pretty good in this situation.” The Tide also has 2021 Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young, who is also the poster child for NIL successes.
So not likely, but not absolutely impossible. Maybe 99 percent impossible.
One last thought. Should Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama all make the four-team playoffs (or suppose LSU beats Georgia and its LSU instead of Alabama), how long will it be before we make the 12-team playoffs?
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