On Tuesday night, the college football playoff committee voted Alabama in at number five. With number one and number four eventually having to play that doesn’t necessarily mean that Alabama will get the move up to number four and get in the playoffs.
Here are their rankings for the top 10:
ONE – LSU 9-0
Two – Ohio State 9-0
Three – Clemson 10-0
Four – Georgia 8-1
Five – Alabama 8-1
Six – Oregon 8-1
Seven – Utah 8-1
Eight – Minnesota 9-0
Nine – Penn State 9-1
Ten – Oklahoma 8-1
To be assured a place inside that group of four, several things will have to happen. First of all, should Georgia lose this weekend to Auburn, then Alabama defeating Auburn later this season will mean a lot more that just beating a very quality team. They will have defeated a team that defeated Alabama’s nearest rival for that fourth spot, Oregon. That could really help the argument that Alabama should be placed ahead of a conference champion.
Some may argue the other way.
They may say that if Auburn loses to Georgia then in makes Oregon’s loss to Auburn look all that much worse. Auburn will be a three loss team and then a four loss team should Alabama beat them. Alabama’s only loss could be to then nation’s number one team. That might equally work to show why Alabama should be given a higher ranking than Oregon.
Auburn could beat Georgia, LSU certainly should. Either way, Georgia will fall out of the top four, but that won’t guarantee an Alabama spot in the playoffs.
Of course Oregon and Utah are still in the mix. So let’s discuss them. One of them will beat the other and only the remainder of these two could challenge Alabama. Only Oregon poses a big risk. Utah plays in the PAC 12 South, one of the worst won/loss conferences in all of major college football. They simply won’t have the pedigree, panache or eye test to jump Alabama no matter how well they finish their season.
But a huge win over Utah in the PAC 12 championship could help Oregon. It will be the last thing the committee sees before voting while Alabama will be idle. The best scenario for Alabama would be for Utah to defeat Oregon since Oregon has the strongest resume of the two.
However the absolute best thing Alabama can do is to soundly defeat Mississippi State, not show any weakness in their cupcake game against Western Carolina, which could actually hurt standing by playing such a cupcake and then destroy Auburn and let the last eye test be of that. Even a close win against Auburn could hurt them.
But as Nick Saban would say, it’s simple, just take care of business, one game at a time, one play at a time.
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Larry Burton 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 https://twitter.com/LBSportswriter