Alabama Football: CFB week No. 1 key games for Tide fans

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 27: A general view is seen during the College Football Sydney Cup match between Stanford University (Stanford Cardinal) and Rice University (Rice Owls) at Allianz Stadium on August 27, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 27: A general view is seen during the College Football Sydney Cup match between Stanford University (Stanford Cardinal) and Rice University (Rice Owls) at Allianz Stadium on August 27, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images) /
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During the 2017 Alabama football quest for a conference and national championship, the outcome of games, not involving the Crimson Tide are also important. Let’s check out three from week No. 1 of CFB.

The goals for Alabama football are the same every season. Get to Atlanta in December, win a SEC Championship, compete in the CFB Playoff and win a National Championship. All those goals will be achieved if the Tide goes 15-0 in 2017.

Of the 11 Alabama football, national championships won under Bryant, Stallings and Saban only four came from undefeated seasons. One loss and a team may still control its own destiny but that depends on how other potential CFB Playoff teams perform.

At this point in the season, the permutations are almost limitless. No one can chart them all but we will provide some key teams whose performance will impact the Tide’s 2017 chances.

What teams to follow?

The answer will change as the season progresses. The starting point is SEC West Division foes and all their opponents. The next step is adding Tennessee and whichever SEC East team will get to Atlanta. Then there are the 10-16 other teams considered to have CFB Playoff potential.

Such a grand scope is not one we are likely to fulfill. We will soldier on nonetheless. Week one at least will be pretty easy.

Alabama football opponents

Colorado State (CSU) opened the season in a new stadium in Fort Collins. The opponent was Oregon State (OSU), coming off a 4-8, 2016 season. The Beavers were not very good defensively last season and that continued on Saturday.

The game was close at the half with the Rams holding a 24-20 lead. Oregon State’s running back Ryan Nall rushed for 107 yards in the first half. In the second half, CSU held him to eight yards. Maybe CSU made some key defensive adjustments or maybe OSU’s mediocre offensive line became tired.

Give CSU head coach, Mike Bobo credit. The Rams were explosive. Rams wide receiver Michael Gallup caught 11 passes for 134 yards. The Rams amassed 525 yards. After a 34-7 second half performance CSU won easily 58-27.

The biggest negative for CSU was allowing 304 passing yards.

Opponents of Alabama opponents

LSU opens its season September 2 against BYU in Houston. BYU opened Saturday against FCS opponent Portland State. The Cougars won 20-6 in a lackluster performance.

BYU has one advantage over other FBS teams. Many BYU freshmen do a couple of years of mission service before starting college. Instead of 17-19, year-old freshmen, they are 19-21, year-old freshmen. The difference in mental and physical maturity can be significant.

Until Saturday we believed on a neutral field BYU could threaten LSU. We doubt that now. If BYU is competitive, LSU is over-rated.

Potential CFB Playoff teams

Roughly halfway across the world, Stanford destroyed Rice 62-7 on Saturday. Tracking the Cardinal as a playoff team is based solely on the recommendation of ESPN College Gameday and Desmond Howard.

We are skeptical about Standford’s CFB Playoff chances but we do admire the Alabama-like style David Shaw practices.  Stanford could be very good but that cannot be known yet. Rice is simply dreadful.

How good Stanford is will be known in a couple of weeks when they face USC.

Next: Six Keys to Beating FSU

Our goal is to update this season long series in a post or two each week. Next week we plan a two-part approach as the key game schedule widens to about 18 games.