Alabama not worthy of college football playoff spot

There should be a debate. There should be meaningful dialogue. There is, after all, one major question hanging over the college football playoff committee, with the final pairings to be announced Sunday noon.

But it’s better to have nothing to do with Alabama. The Crimson Tide is not expected to be close to last year’s discussion of the four-team playoffs before the tournament expands appropriately to 12 teams next season.

Who can avoid seeded and top-seeded Georgia in the semifinals — TCU or Ohio State — is a toss-up. The #3 spot can really go both ways. Both teams have a good win, TCU over No. 10 Kansas State and Ohio State over No. 8 Penn State, and each also has a loss, after the Horned Frogs fall against Kansas State in overtime in the Big 12 Championship Game.

That should be the only point of contention for the committee. Defending national champion Georgia must be one after going undefeated in the mighty SEC, followed by Michigan at No. 2. Both have a number of quality wins. Each school was dominant the most often.

USC’s lopsided loss Friday night in the Pac-12 title game eliminated the Trojans and moved Ohio State to a playoff berth. Some think Alabama should be in the game after TCU’s narrow loss on Saturday, but I find that idea both delusional and unrealistic.

Nick SabanNick Saban
Nick Saban

In the previous eight years of the playoffs, a two-game losing streak has never been selected. Alabama has two losses. More importantly, he doesn’t have a quality win. The Crimson Tide’s best win is over No. 20 Texas, and in that game the Longhorns were without starting quarterback Quinn Ewers for most of the game due to injury.

Although Alabama’s two losses were just four combined points to No. 7 Tennessee and No. 14 LSU, Nick Saban’s team also barely passed Texas A&M and Mississippi. The Tide could easily suffer a third loss. Let’s compare: TCU and Ohio State each have one less loss than Alabama and a much better win at the top of their respective resumes. The Crimson Tide are 3-2 on the road; TCU and Ohio State have no road loss.

Alabama’s argument is the visual test that it is one of the top four teams in the country. The tide was never blown like Ohio State was by Michigan, and they didn’t need as many late rallies as the TCU did every week. But the actual results must count. The quality of wins cannot be discounted.

Alabama does not belong this year. TCU and Ohio State do.

As for the No. 3 team, I would give Ohio State a slight edge. The Buckeyes have been more consistent than TCU, play in a better conference and have two top-25 wins, over Penn State and No. 21 Notre Dame, compared to the Horned Frogs. I expect the committee to order it that way as well, in part because it would create a can’t-miss event, Ohio State-Michigan Part Two. Since Ohio State and TCU are so close when it comes to all of their work, why not put on such a made-for-TV show?

An argument, however, can be made for TCU or Ohio State at No. 3. There is, however, no justification for including Alabama in the final year of the four-team playoffs.

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