Alabama ended the regular season with a 49-27 win over Auburn, its third straight Iron Bowl win, and advanced to 10-2 (6-2 SEC) to win 10 games for a 15th straight season.
Now, the Crimson Tide awaits to know its post-season fate as conference championships are scheduled to take place this weekend. Alabama will not be participating in the SEC title game this year and will instead watch from home as Georgia and LSU go head-to-head in Atlanta on Saturday, December 3. It would rather control its own destiny, but what happens in other leagues will determine whether UA sneaks into the college football playoffs or plays in a New Year’s Six Bowl.
But before that, Tuesday’s CFP Top 25 rankings will all give us a better idea of the chances of an eighth playoff appearance for the Crimson Tide. Georgia, Michigan and TCU all won to complete their regular seasons, meaning they will be the top three teams for the penultimate ladder show. USC also won and will play for a Pac-12 title on Saturday, but whether Alabama checks in 5th or 6th will be a preview of selection Sunday.
After defeating Auburn, head coach Nick Saban quickly championed UA in the CFP.
“I know I’ve been asked about the playoffs out there, but unbeknownst to me, I didn’t know who won, who lost or anything else,” Saban said Saturday night. “It’s a great opportunity for our team to be considered. I think we lost two games away to two top 10 teams with four points. So we’re a good football team and hopefully people will recognize that.”
Ohio State lost its first game of the season to Michigan 45-23. The Buckeyes will fall back in the rankings, but it’s a question of how far. LSU and Clemson also lost, creating room for the Crimson Tide to move up at least a spot, if not two, from #7. The committee has shown respect for Saban’s side, who haven’t dropped out of the top 10 all season long despite two losses, but can they hold their own against a 1-loss team from Ohio State this week?
We’ll find out all of that, and possibly more, on Tuesday, November 29 at 6pm CT on ESPN.
Until then, let’s take a look at the bowl games that Alabama is currently forecast for. Forecasts are trickling in throughout the week, but as of Monday morning all outlets have what are likely to be the top four teams from Georgia, Michigan, TCU and USC making the four-team playoffs. That would result in the tide outside looking in and playing in a game of New Year’s Six Bowls. If that is indeed the case, Alabama will play in either the Sugar Bowl or the Orange Bowl.
Most predictions are for Sugar for the Tide, the best non-playoff bowl an SEC team can play in. UA’s top challenger for the New Orleans game is one of the two teams they lost to this season, Tennessee. However, the Vols have fallen off since defeating the Crimson Tide, losing by 14 to Georgia and 25 to an unranked South Carolina team, both on the road. The two have the same record, but given their losses, the Vols are likely to get the Orange Bowl.
Below is a breakdown of where Alabama is projected to bowl after the Week 13 list.
ESPN (Kyle Bonagura): Sugar Bowl vs. Kansas State (Dec. 31)
ESPN (Mark Schlabach): Sugar Bowl vs. Kansas State
CBS Sports (Jerry Palm): Sugar Bowl vs. Kansas State
247Sports (Brad Crawford): Sugar Bowl vs. Kansas State
Athlon Sports (Steve Lassan): Sugar Bowl vs. Kansas State
CFB News (Pete Fiutak): Orange Bowl vs. Clemson (Dec. 30)
Did you know that BOL has a podcast? The BamaOnLine podcast brings you the latest Alabama news and insights from Travis Reier, Charlie Potter, Hank South and Tim Watts. Watch the latest episode exactly here or subscribe on iTunes today!
Contact Charlie Potter via personal message or on Twitter (@Charlie_Potter).