Alabama Football: Latest CFB Contenders, Pretenders and Others

Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr/The Tuscaloosa News via USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr/The Tuscaloosa News via USA TODAY Sports /
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Alabama Football
Gary Cosby Jr/The Tuscaloosa News via USA TODAY Sports /

Alabama Football: The college football season is speeding by as teams reveal themselves for what they really are and what’s in their futures.

Alabama football and other SEC teams have completed week four of the conference season. Other FBS teams that started in late August or early September have finished week seven. The Big Ten, Pac 12 and others are yet to start. In this evaluation, the fifty or so teams yet to play are considered along with the 76 teams, having already competed.

Our first analysis was done two weeks ago. Teams were broken down into three categories: ‘Too Soon to Call’; ‘Pretenders’ and ‘Contenders’. The first ranking included 40 teams. The teams left out were deemed having no legitimate shot at any meaningful championship. We are following the same format and adding a fourth category – Done. ‘Done’ signifies teams who can no longer contend for a Power Five Conference Championship or a CFB Playoff berth.

There are no algorithmic calculations backing up the evaluation. Hopefully, an open mind and common sense ensure no team is being unfairly assessed.

Too Soon to Call (new additions in bold)

This group is led by six teams that are yet to play: Iowa; Michigan; Minnesota; Washington; Southern Cal and Utah.

The others are Miami; North Carolina; Notre Dame; South Carolina; Florida; Cincinnati, SMU; North Carolina State; Virginia Tech; Iowa State; Kansas State; Kentucky; Arkansas and TCU.

From the first evaluation, six teams moved out of this category and four joined. The Fighting Irish and the North Carolina Tar Heels are highly-ranked new additions. The high poll rankings for the Irish seem unjustified. We are just not sold on them being a Contender, not after scraping by a weak, 1-4, Lousiville team, 12-7.

The other ranked team removed from being considered a Contender is UNC. They are now 3-1, but the one loss was a bad one to FSU.

South Carolina was in the first Pretender category. A win over Auburn moved them to the “Too Soon to Call’ list. The Gamecocks are likely one loss away from being moved to Done.

From our first listing, Florida moved from ‘Contender’ to ‘Too Soon to Call.’ There is one reason. It is the Gators’ defense or lack of it. Moving the ball on the Gators is unacceptably unchallenging. They are No. 77 among the currently competing 77 teams in Defense, Third Down Conversions.

Once the Pac 12 begins play, (whenever that is) Southern Cal and Arizona State might warrant being on the ‘Too Soon’ list.