Connect with us

Alabama Football Highlights

The Crazy Scenarios to Come For the College Football Playoffs

There are several things that could happen as a result of this week’s contests and here are the most plausible ones for fans of Alabama’s Crimson Tide team.

It's going to be an exciting finish

The Crazy Scenarios to Come For the College Football Playoffs

By: Larry Burton

After reading the committee’s rankings below, be sure and read the scenarios that will come from this week’s play and what Alabama’s chances are of getting into the final party.

Here is the committee’s next to last College Football Playoff rankings:

Rank Logo Team Record
1 Clemson University 11-1
2 Auburn University 10-2
3 University of Oklahoma 11-1
4 University of Wisconsin 12-0
5 University of Alabama 11-1
6 University of Georgia 11-1
7 University of Miami 10-1
8 Ohio State University 10-2
9 Penn State University 10-2
10 University of Southern California 10-2
11 Texas Christian University 10-2
12 Stanford University 9-3
13 University of Washington 10-2
14 University of Central Florida 11-0
15 University of Notre Dame 9-3
16 Michigan State University 9-3
17 Louisiana State University 9-3
18 Washington State University 9-3
19 Oklahoma State University 9-3
20 University of Memphis 10-1
21 Northwestern University 9-3
22 Virginia Tech 9-3
23 Mississippi State University 8-4
24 North Carolina State University 8-4
25 Fresno State 9-3

Should the four teams ahead of Alabama hold serve and win out, they’re in everyone else is out, barring a really ugly, sloppy win by Oklahoma. Of if Oklahoma wins an ugly game and their quarterback is gone for the season and the committee feels they have no shot in the playoffs without him.

Alabama could have expected to be no higher than fourth, but came in at fifth, so it left them with the best possible shot to get in, but only if at least one of two people ahead of them lose this weekend.

It won’t matter who wins between Auburn and Georgia, the winner is in, period. The same goes goes for the winner of the Miami / Clemson contest. The winner is in, no question. So two of the four slots are out of Alabama’s reach no matter what. Perhaps an exception would be an Auburn win, but they lose both their quarterback for the playoffs and their star running back and the committee feels without them they have no shot in the playoffs and jumps Alabama over Auburn like the did Ohio State over Penn State last season despite the fact that Penn State beat them head to head as Auburn did Alabama.

The only two slots left for Alabama to take seemingly without wild injuries is the scenario for Ohio State to defeat Wisconsin, but in such a way they don’t look like world beaters doing it. In that scenario, Alabama takes Wisconsin’s slot and is in. But if Ohio State clubs Wisconsin say 55-17, the committee would have to weigh if their quality wins outweigh their two ugly loses and jump Alabama into that slot.

Scenario number two is a two loss TCU beating Oklahoma. Perhaps a lot less likely, but that scenario would put Alabama in the playoffs in the vacated Oklahoma slot. The committee is not and has never been so enamored with TCU, that they could jump from their present position over Alabama.

But should both these scenarios happen, then it would be the SEC Champion, the ACC Champion in the number one and two positions with the three and four positions claimed by Alabama and Ohio State in some order.

Should Oklahoma win and Ohio State simply kill Wisconsin, then Ohio State would argue they should jump Alabama who had no game while they beat a top four team. It would be a compelling argument, but might also show that Wisconsin, who the committee really never liked until late, was simply vastly overrated and the Big 10 as a whole was not that good in the other division.

For the Tide to all but be guaranteed a slot in the playoffs, the best case scenario would be for both Oklahoma and Wisconsin to lose.

Alabama may have been fortunate to come in over Ohio State in this latest ranking this week for the following reasons. Here’s the top 10:

Being at number five shows that should one of the top four fall, then the fifth place team take it’s place.

While they may not have as many wins over highly ranked opponents, Alabama’s only loss was against the number two team in the nation on the road. Ohio State had more wins against ranked teams and teams ranked higher than teams than Alabama defeated, but then there were two losses that were very significant. One was by Oklahoma, the number three team, but it was at home which hurts a bit and they weren’t just beaten, they were drilled 31-16 in a game that really wasn’t as close as the score showed. The other was just a total embarrassing loss to a five loss 7-5 Iowa State. That hurts. Plus both losses were a no excuse game when Ohio State was at full strength with no injuries. Alabama’s loss came while almost the entire linebacking corp was patched together with subs.

Fresno State, who was no real game of consequence at the time, has built on a solid season, sneaking in as a top 25 team at the end of the year, thus helping Alabama’s win total over ranked teams.

Despite the loss to Ole Miss, Mississippi State also stayed in the top 25 helping the Tide.

The Football Power Index Rating has Alabama at number one and Alabama is still the odds on favorite to win the national championship according to Las Vegas

Perhaps also is the fact that in the back of the committee members minds is that Ohio State was placed in the playoffs last year when perhaps they shouldn’t have been and it sure showed as the Buckeyes were totally humiliated in the first round proving that they in fact really didn’t belong.

There’s also the belief that overall, the Big 10 hasn’t been as tough as the SEC this season and that a two loss team from that conference shouldn’t jump a one loss team whose only loss with to the number two team in the nation.

Alabama has been the number one team in the nation for all but two weeks of the season and had to play the season with that target on their back and that holds sway with a lot of the committee members.

A one loss team vs a two loss team.

Lastly, while the win over Florida State now means little given their current record , at the time of the victory over FSU, they were the number two team in the nation, picked by everyone to make the college football playoffs and the loss of their quarterback in that game that was close until that moment. That injury started their downward spiral. So that loss and the willingness to schedule that game, still holds some sway in the minds of the committee.

So Alabama fans, you’re not playing this weekend, but you have some serious cheering on to do. While both ironic and amusing, Alabama fans will cheering on the Ohio State Buckeyes for perhaps the first time in their lives as well as yelling, “Go Frogs!”. College football makes strange bedfellows and proves a proverb from the “Art of War” by Sun Tzu, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

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.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

More in Alabama Football Highlights