Barring a series of absolute mayhem over the next two weeks, No. 7 Alabama is likely to miss the college football playoffs.
Sure, there’s still a way for the Crimson Tide (9-2, 5-2 in the SEC) to play for the title, but it would take four to five results to make his way to under the first four to come. Even then, the committee would have to make a big decision conceding a team with two losses and no conference title.
However, this next two weeks will still be interesting for Alabama as it waits to find out which bowl game it will be sent to. When the Crimson Tide takes care of business in Saturday’s Iron Bowl against Auburn, she’ll find herself in a New Year’s Six bowl. Although the location of this year’s postseason matchup will also be determined by how other SEC teams perform in the coming weeks.
Here’s a look at all of the postseason opportunities in Alabama. For the dreamers out there, we start with the highly unlikely chance of the Crimson Tide sneaking into the college football playoffs.
College Football Playoff
Before we begin, Alabama fans should hold their breath. A two-loss team has never made the college football playoffs, let alone won them, if they didn’t win their conference. Yes, both of the Crimson Tide’s losses came in the last play. Alabama’s best win, however, is a slumping Ole Miss #20, and that’s not going to change this week as the Crimson Tide meets a 5-6 Auburn team.
With all that but your crimson glasses and we’re gonna wreak havoc.
Starting at the top of the rankings, Alabama needs No. 1 Georgia to beat No. 5 LSU in the Dec. 3 SEC championship game. The Bulldogs are already suspended from the playoffs and a loss would give the Tigers three losses a year, eliminating them from the competition.
Next up, Alabama is looking to get a one-sided result in this week’s game between No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Michigan. The Crimson Tide would likely prefer the Buckeyes to provide the blowout as the Wolverines have a weak schedule outside of the conference and could fall down the leaderboard with a big loss. However, an Ohio State blowout loss could see the Buckeyes suffer the same fate. Either way, the winner of the game should secure a spot in the playoffs.
If you count at home, that’s two playoff spots taken, but also two teams ahead of Alabama, who could be overtaken by the Tide.
Going forward, it would certainly help if No. 4 TCU dropped a game. But given the chaos above, the Hornedfrogs could still make the field as conference champions with a loss. The TCU is unlikely to fall to the Big 12 bottom dweller in Iowa state this week. Still, the game Alabama really needs to lose the Horned Frogs is the Big 12 Championship Game against Kansas State or Texas. Ideally, the Crimson Tide would want Texas to win the Big 12 title considering they beat the Longhorns 20-19 in Week 2 in Austin.
Even if all of this happens and TCU drops both games, Alabama is not guaranteed a spot. The Crimson Tide would still have a No. 6 Southern California or No. 8 Clemson need to drop a game moving forward.
The Trojans host No. 15 Notre Dame this week before moving on to the Pac-12 championship game on December 2. Meanwhile, Clemson welcomes South Carolina this week before taking on No. 17 Clemson in the ACC Championship game on Dec. 3.
For those counting, that’s at least five scenarios that would need to be shaken up to get Alabama in. It could happen, but let’s face it – it won’t.
Now let’s move on to the real possibilities. Alabama’s most likely destination will be the Orange Bowl, played December 30 in Miami Gardens, Florida.
The game features the first-choice ACC team against a second-choice SEC team, a Big 12 team, or Notre Dame. With Georgia making the playoffs, Alabama could find themselves as the SEC’s second pick behind LSU depending on how badly the Tigers lose to the Bulldogs.
Alabama’s most likely matchup here would be against Clemson. However, if the Tigers lose to North Carolina in the ACC Championship game, the Crimson Tide would face the Tar Heels.
Assuming Alabama beats Auburn, it’ll likely go into the Sugar Bowl if either of two things happens — LSU beats Georgia and both teams make the playoffs, or the Tigers lose to the Bulldogs and fall down the rankings the crimson tide.
The Sugar Bowl is scheduled for December 31 in New Orleans and will feature the top non-playoff teams from the SEC and the Big 12. If Alabama becomes the SEC’s first pick, it will likely face Kansas State, assuming TCU advances to the playoffs.
This is also a possibility for Alabama, albeit a much less likely one. The Cotton Bowl will be played in Arlington, Texas on January 2nd and will feature a duel between a team at large and the top ranked team in the group of five.
With Alabama ahead of No. 10 Tennessee, the Crimson Tide would likely only play in the Cotton Bowl if they lost to Auburn. Even then, No. 19 Tulane would likely need to beat No. 24 Cincinnati for the Greenwave to secure their spot as the top-ranked team in the Group of Five. The bowl committee probably wouldn’t want to play Alabama and Cincinnati in Dallas considering the two teams faced off in last year’s Cotton Bowl.
Look at the soil of this Alabama. The Citrus Bowl will be played in Orlando on January 2nd and will feature a matchup between the SEC and the Big Ten.
Once again, Alabama would have to lose to Auburn to get here. From there it will depend on how other matchups fare. Alabama’s most likely Citrus Bowl opponent would be Penn State.