Alabama is a good team, but should they really be ranked #2 in the nation?
We are all eagerly awaiting the release of the College Football Playoff Committee’s Top 25 Rankings on Sunday at noon eastern time. Based on what we have seen so far, the majority of us are expecting for Clemson to be ranked #1 followed by Alabama, Oklahoma, and most likely Michigan State. Since there are so many people out there that believe Alabama is undeserving of their #2 ranking, let’s take a moment and discuss it.
Anyone who knows me understands that I enjoy playing devil’s advocate simply to challenge one’s way of thinking. I think it is important for someone to challenge the status quo so a lively debate can be held and various ideas can be brought forward. Before we go forward, let me place this small disclaimer: I am an Alabama fan (which I believe is a given), and I believe Alabama should be ranked in the Top 4. However, I’m not exactly sure where they should be ranked. With that being said from here on out, I am playing the devil’s advocate.
So, why should Alabama be ranked #2 in the nation? They absolutely should not. Who has Alabama played? Barely anybody. Let me explain.
Alabama lost to Ole Miss at home of all places. Do not give me grief about the fact that Alabama had five turnovers, and Cooper Bateman started the game. Alabama could not defend their home turf against an Ole Miss team that went 9-3 in the regular season. Oh and by the way, Ole Miss lost to Memphis. TO MEMPHIS! Alabama’s loss was a bad loss. Perhaps Alabama improved the remainder of the season, but it was still a bad loss.
Oh, and did I mention how overrated Derrick Henry and that Alabama defense is? Derrick Henry has put up big yards against who, Texas A&M? One of the worst rushing defenses in the nation? Dalvin Cook has a greater yards per carry average than Henry does. On top of that, Alabama’s defense wouldn’t be able to stop a real quarterback. The only decent quarterback Alabama has faced was Dak Prescott who still had 300 yards passing against Alabama’s secondary. Just wait and see what Deshaun Watson, Baker Mayfield, or Connor Cook does to the Alabama defense.
The last point I have about Alabama is look how they played in the SEC Championship. Alabama’s offense couldn’t make anything happen in the first half. They looked almost completely stagnant against a Florida team that represents “the best” of a struggling SEC East. And Alabama gave up 15 points to the Gators who did not have any offensive points against Florida State.
Clemson absolutely deserves to be the top team in the nation. There should not be any question in anyone’s mind as to this fact. Clemson boasts wins over Notre Dame, Florida State, and North Carolina (all of whom are currently ranked Top 10 in the nation). Clemson’s most defining points are that the Tigers are the only remaining undefeated FBS team in the nation, and they are now ACC Champions. No question, the Tigers are #1. Alabama can’t stop a dual-threat quarterback, and Deshaun Watson is arguably the best dual-threat quarterback in the nation.
The Oklahoma Sooners should be ranked way ahead of Alabama. Oklahoma has looked incredibly dominant over everyone they have played since their loss to rival Texas. That loss to Texas (even though they are 5-7) is a rivalry game, and as most fans of the Iron Bowl know, anything can happen in a rivalry game. The Sooners are the clear cut Big 12 Champions, with notable wins over Tennessee, Baylor, TCU, and Oklahoma State. Baker Mayfield has nearly 3400 yards through the air and 35 touchdowns, not to mention his 420 rushing yards and 7 rushing touchdowns. Mayfield would completely shred the Alabama secondary.
Pick any Big 10 Team, and they should be ranked higher than Alabama. Michigan State, Iowa, and Ohio State all have better resumes than Alabama. Michigan State should be undefeated at this point except for a controversial call that cost the Spartans the game against Nebraska. Iowa’s and Ohio State’s only loss is to Michigan State, who became the Big 10 Conference Champions. The Big 10 is on an uptick this season along with the ACC, while the SEC is in a slump. No one else can say they have more wins against current Top 20 teams than Michigan State.
Okay. I’m done being Devil’s Advocate now. After seeing some of these different viewpoints, I can see how someone can argue against Alabama. Alas, at the same time, viewing these points it has solidified my reasoning in suggesting that Alabama should be ranked #2 in the nation. Let me explain why.
Alabama turned a corner following their loss to Ole Miss. Yes, the Ole Miss loss was a bad loss. However, losing to 9-3 Ole Miss is not nearly as bad as losing to 5-7 Texas (I do not care how much of a rival game it is). Alabama has won against the same amount of currently ranked teams as Oklahoma has – 4. Alabama is the true Southeastern Conference Champion. It does not matter if the SEC is having a down season or not, winning your conference is not the easiest thing in the world to do. If you think it is, just ask Michigan State, Oklahoma, or Clemson if they thought it was a walk in the park.
Oh, and let me bring up Baker Mayfield for a moment. Yes, Mayfield is an incredibly gifted athlete. He is a great passer and a great scrambler. But I am curious to see how good of a scrambler he will be against Reggie Ragland, who is one of the best linebackers in the league. Baker Mayfield’s scrambling ability will be taken away if they end up facing the Crimson Tide. Alabama will force him to beat them through the air.
Alas, none of the SEC hate really matters. It will all be settled on the field. Alabama will get their chance. We will all get to sit back and watch as the magic unfolds as our blood pressures sky rocket through the roof.