MIKE RODAK al.com
For the second time in four seasons, Alabama will end a regular season 10-2 and miss the SEC championship game. But that doesn’t mean the door has been completely slammed for Alabama to be selected for the four-team college football playoff when it’s selected on December 4.
Ohio State’s 45-23 loss on its home field to Michigan and Clemson’s loss to South Carolina raised questions about whether another break in the top 10 could open a chance for Alabama.
After The Tide won the Iron Bowl against Auburn (49-27) on Saturday afternoon, Saban responded to the situation during the opening statement of his press conference.
“Unknown to me, I didn’t know who won, who lost or anything else,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for our team to be considered. I think we lost two games en route to two top 10 teams with four points.
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“We’re a good football team and hopefully people will recognize that.”
Trail remains tight for the Tide as Georgia, Michigan and TCU all go undefeated in their conference championship games. Ohio State and USC are the main teams who, along with Alabama, would be in talks for a final spot if the three undefeated teams win next weekend.
Alabama will have the coming week off, giving Saban a chance to discuss his team’s playoff opportunities in national media interviews — something he said after the Iron Bowl he will consider if it would improve his team’s chances.
“I haven’t really thought about it up to this point,” he continued. “My whole focus was to win this game. This is the best opportunity we’ve had for something good to happen to us. Winning the Iron Bowl is a significant achievement for our team and for our fans which we certainly appreciate and this team to win 10 games.
“I haven’t really thought about any of those things beyond that. And I’m really proud of our players because I don’t think they thought about it.”
Alabama outside linebacker Will Anderson made a comeback for the playoffs after the Iron Bowl win.
“Definitely,” he said when asked if the tide was good enough to record. “We had a quarterback that had gone through with his shoulder and stuff like that. We fought hard in every game we played. We did a really good job. The effort was there. We lost those two teams by four points together. I think we have a really good team and these guys are working really hard.”