Despite it not getting into the College Football Playoff, Alabama football can still salvage its season with the next best thing: appearing in a New Year’s Six bowl.
With the loss suffered by Utah to Oregon on Friday, one domino has fallen in favor of the Crimson Tide.
Even though LSU is the favorite to win the Southeastern Conference Championship Game, a win for Georgia is huge because it helps Alabama in the process.
As of now, the Tide is projected to spent its postseason in Florida in either the Citrus Bowl or Outback Bowl. If the Bulldogs topple the Tigers, both teams will go into the playoff and an opening for the Allstate Sugar Bowl (New Orleans, La.) is available for an SEC school.
Regardless of Florida (No. 9) and Auburn (No. 11) being ranked ahead of Alabama, its two losses came on a combined eight points – which is fewer than its counterparts.
Both the Gators and Tigers had their defeats come on a combined 21 points each.
Then, factor in the travel fare for Tide fans. They already travel well as it is, but the fan base would rather go five hours to New Orleans versus 10-12 hours to either Tampa or Orlando.
Prices for tickets would go faster for the Sugar Bowl than the SEC title game and ratings would be through the roof.
Even if Oklahoma was to defeat Baylor in the Big 12 title game, a Georgia victory over LSU would lock the Sooners out of the playoff.
This could potentially set up a Sugar Bowl rematch that many Alabama fans and college football connoisseurs want to see.
Nick Saban owes payback to a few teams anyway – including Oklahoma for its performance in the 2014 game off the ’13 season.
Under the leadership of Bob Stoops, Trevor Knight and the Sooners torched Alabama’s defense for 45 points and won 45-31. Knight tossed for four touchdowns, while AJ McCarron was intercepted twice.
Derrick Henry, a freshman then, was the Tide’s lone bright spot that day.
He totaled 161 yards from scrimmage (61 receiving) on nine touches with two scores.
Pitting these story-filled programs against each other makes for must-see football, especially when one dissects the storylines. It does not get any bigger than Saban versus Jalen Hurts.
Some people think the Tide’s season went the way it did, due to how Hurts was handled last year with the team.
The native Texan would have an opportunity to get a big win over his former head coach, while Saban could send his program strongly into the offseason with a Sugar Bowl title.
It would also be the battle of two former backup quarterbacks – Hurts versus Mac Jones – and two NFL Draft-eligible receivers in Jerry Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb. Professional scouts could see first-hand on which one deserves to be the first one drafted at the position.
Prior to its win over Clemson in the 2017 CFP semifinal, Alabama had issues winning the Sugar Bowl.
Tough losses to Oklahoma and Ohio State (2015 game, ‘14 season) put a bad taste in the mouth of fans for the venue; however, beating the Tigers put the game back in good graces.
To have the headline names of Saban, Lincoln Riley, Hurts, Jeudy and Lamb all on one field would be huge for college football.
A win for LSU sends Georgia to the New Year’s Six, but a victory for Kirby Smart puts his former team in a much better situation.
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