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Sports Dawgs Take Shop: Alabama in Trouble

11 November 2019 Sports


November 11, 2019

Welcome to Sports Dawgs Take Shop. Every Monday morning Randy Woodward and Josh Henry will break down a moment or story line in sports that enthralled us from the weekend. Last week, the Sports Dawgs asked if the Washington Nationals will re-sign Stephen Strasburg and Anthony Rendon. This week, the question is: will the Alabama Crimson Tide make the College Football Playoff? 

RW: OK, so another “Game of the Century” is in the books and Saturday’s LSU-Alabama game lived up to the hype. The contest certainly had a playoff feel to it, and many were calling it an elimination game for the loser.  But the loser was Alabama, so now we have to listen to a month of the seemingly annual “is Alabama one of the best 4 teams in the country, even with one loss?” question. Does a team that almost certainly will not win it’s own division, much less play in it’s conference championship game, deserve to be in the CFP?

Logically, the answer is a resounding “no”. But the CFP Committee is supposed to take a blank page into every week, and given past history, one can see a scenario where the Committee does the so-called “eye test” and puts ‘Bama into the top 4 once again.  Let’s look at the other contenders: I can’t see LSU losing again, not even in the SEC title game, so they’re probably in. Clemson hasn’t been great every week, but I don’t see them losing either. Penn State is now probably on the outside-looking-in. And what if Ohio State loses to rival Michigan?  It’s gonna get crazy.

Had the “Game of the Century” resulted in an LSU blowout (and it looked that way for a while) instead of a 46-41 classic, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. Alabama backers will say that Tua Tagovailoa played on one leg and still threw for over 400 yards, etc., etc.  The Tide faithful will be making their case for the next month for all to hear, but in the end, I think this year, they’ll have to try and get excited about a “New Year’s Six” bowl.

 

JH: I can’t quit the Alabama Crimson tide. Yes, it’s going to take a lot, and then some, for the Tide to make the CFP. But we have seen this story before.

In 2017, Alabama didn’t win their conference. In fact, they didn’t play in their conference championship game. They watched on the sideline as Georgia took down Auburn to win the SEC championship, and made the playoff over the Bulldogs anyway. Not only that, they made it over an undefeated UCF team, a 12-1 Wisconsin squad, and an 11-2 (albeit with better wins on the schedule) Big Ten Champion Ohio State Buckeyes.

The Crimson Tide have the favor of the selection committee, and with good reason. They have made every playoffs and the last four championship games. Not only does Alabama have an incredible viewer base (because this is still about money folks), but they always have one of the four best teams. I’d argue this year is no different. Tua Tagovailoa was the heisman favorite, prior to Joe Burrow’s recent run of excellence. Their defense is full of top tier talent, and it took one of the best offenses in college football to finally make them look questionable. Tua is throwing to possibly 3(!!!) future first round picks at receiver. I don’t think including a 11-1 Alabama squad is even that hard, despite their strength of schedule.

All this said, the road ahead is tough for Alabama, if only because they need a ton of help to have a clear cut case rather than a 50/50 shot. Clemson, LSU, Ohio State or Georgia losing again would help. Of course, the Bulldogs and Tigers will likely clash in the SEC Championship, but if Georgia wins said hypothetical, the Tide’s chances are likely cooked. Clemson has an arguably easier schedule than Alabama this year, plus they’ve struggled mightily against weaker competition (hello, North Carolina). That said, the Clemson Tigers are going to be undefeated and are defending national champs, they aren’t being booted. Ohio State could lose to Penn State, plus they lost their best player for that game (as of now), but the Buckeyes have dominated every game and look unstoppable.

I say scrap all of that. College football is weird. The Playoff selection committee is arguably biased for teams like the Crimson Tide. At the end of the day, its going to be incredibly hard to keep the team out that has been in four straight championship games and won two of them. I say, ‘Bama gets in at the end of the day.


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