Biggest College Football Playoff rankings question: What about No. 4 and Alabama?

3 weeks ago The Advocate 0

Three-fourths of the College Football Playoff selection committee’s job Tuesday was pretty easy.

LSU, fresh off a win against Alabama, is the top-ranked team. Then Ohio State. Then Clemson.

It was No. 4, though, that was No. 1 on fans’ minds.

The committee slotted Georgia at No. 4 — followed by Alabama, Oregon, Utah and Minnesota — setting off a string of “what ifs” focused on one, big elephant in the room.

If Alabama finishes 11-1, is that enough for the Crimson Tide to sneak into the playoff and go 6-for-6 in CFP semifinal appearances?

Rob Mullens, CFP selection committee chairman, said Georgia was ranked No. 4 this week mostly because of its two “big wins” against Notre Dame and Florida.

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The Crimson Tide is 0-1 against teams ranked in the CFP top 25 with games left against Western Carolina, Mississippi State and No. 12 Auburn.

So, consider the top eight teams:

1. LSU (9-0)

2. Ohio State (9-0)

3. Clemson (10-0)

4. Georgia (8-1)

5. Alabama (8-1)

6. Oregon (8-1)

7. Utah (8-1)

8. Minnesota (9-0)

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For Alabama to have a shot at making the playoff, at least three key questions loom:

• 1. Would 11-1 Alabama get in over a one-loss Pac-12 champion such as Oregon or Utah (assuming LSU, Ohio State and Clemson win out)?

• 2. Would 11-1 Alabama stay ahead of an undefeated Baylor (No. 13 this week) if the Bears won out with victories against No. 10 Oklahoma, No. 19. Texas and a team to-be-determined in the Big 12 championship game?

• 3. Would 11-1 Alabama stay ahead of 12-1 Minnesota, whose lone loss might be to Ohio State in the Big 10 championship game? 

Georgia and Auburn face off at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium. An Auburn loss would even further weaken Alabama’s case to make the playoff because it’d be the Tigers’ third loss but, potentially, Alabama’s best win of the year.

The CFP’s final playoff selections will be announced Dec. 8, the day after the Southeastern Conference championship game.

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