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Alabama Fans: Don’t Panic, Just Do The Math

Even a Homer can do the math on this problem, which isn’t much of a problem in the end.

Alabama Fans: Don’t Panic, Just Do The Math

By: Larry Burton

For Alabama fans worried that the Tide could have possibly blown their chance to make the new playoff system. But those fans haven’t done the math or haven’t looked at the schedules of the various teams ranked ahead of them. So let’s do the math and start subtracting.

Alabama starts out at a very important number and that number is 7, their rank in this week’s poll. Then we subtract one because number 2 Auburn and 3 Mississippi State play each other this weekend and the loser will fall below Alabama. That brings Alabama to 6.

The following week, number 1 Florida State plays number 6 Notre Dame and one must fall and Alabama will be then be ranked number 5.

On November first, number 2 Auburn plays number 3 Ole Miss and one will fall and Alabama will then be ranked number 4, the magic number to make the playoffs. Yes I realize that Auburn could have lost to Mississippi State and if Ole Miss beats them too, then Alabama won’t gain a number up, but it’s unlikely that Auburn will lose both these games. They could easily split them.

On November 15th, Alabama plays number 3 Mississippi State and if they are still undefeated, then Alabama goes to at least 3. Even if State has one loss, beating a former number 3 team will help them in the poll.

On November 29th, Alabama plays number 2 Auburn and Alabama could not possibly, under any scenario, be ranked lower than number 3 and possibly will be the number two team in the country. That means that whether they they play in the SEC Championship Game or not, it will be hard to deny them a shot in the the playoffs if indeed the goal is to get the top four teams in the nation in the game.

Unlike what Michigan State head coach Mark Dantoni may whine and complain about, it is a tournament of conference champions, it is a gathering of the four best teams in college football.

Despite the sure to be bitching and moaning that will come from all the other one loss teams in the country, Alabama will have played four teams that earned their way into the top ten after hard fought wins, not preseason rankings. Michigan State will have played one team that made it to the top ten and they lost to them. There is simply no way to put in Michigan State ahead of Alabama.

An undefeated Baylor would go in, but a one loss Baylor would have only played two teams that earned their way into the top ten. A one loss Oklahoma? Same story, different team, only two games against teams who earned their way into the top 10 to Alabama’s four games against much higher ranked teams.

A one loss Oregon? They lost to an unranked team, consider them far behind Alabama’s chances. Even playing an extra conference championship game, no team outside the SEC will have played more top 10 opponents.  Case closed.

If Alabama wins out, due to attrition there could only possibly be three undefeated teams and they will go in as they should as the number one and two seed. No team could make a case that they have played and defeated more top ten teams and more top 25 teams than Alabama. Well, possibly Ole Miss could have a valid argument as a one loss team.

What’s likely is that there will only be one undefeated team, Florida State and that they will be only be undefeated because they played only one team that earned their way into the top 10 and that was Notre Dame who was very much over rated to be in that group. And as discussed earlier in the article only a one loss SEC Champion, who isn’t Alabama, could make the number two spot without question.

To say that a one loss Alabama, with the most victories over top competition is not in the top four would defy any logic and Alabama is in. So for Alabama fans who are worried, all Alabama has to do is what it did in both the 2011 and 2012 and that is just win out and make the dance with the one loss.

If they win out, just do the math, but besides the certainty of math, logic, fairness and common sense will put Alabama in the first playoff system.

Larry has been published in almost every media outlet for college sports and now primarily writes here for Touchdown Alabama. Follow Larry on Twitter for inside thoughts and game time comments at

Larry Burton is a member of the Football Writers of America Association (FWAA) and was the most read SEC and Alabama football writer during his time at Bleacher Report. He has been credentialed by all the major bowls and the University of Alabama. Larry provides some of the best insight in the business through his "Larry's Lowdown" segment with TDA.

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