Alabama Football: Latest poll rankings indicator of CFB Playoff field

(Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /

Alabama Football is No. 1 again. What latest poll rankings indicate about the future CFB Playoff field.

There is no compelling reason to think Alabama football will not be undefeated following an SEC Championship victory. Whether or not the Floria Gators will be the best team on the Tide’s 2020 schedule is debatable. The best Crimson Tide opponent might be Texas A&M. The Aggies did beat the Gators last month.

Short of a bizarre Gators’ collapse, it will be Dan Mullen’s team as the remaining obstacle between the Tide and the CFB Playoff. Dan Mullen was 0-9 against Nick Saban’s Alabama football teams from 2009-2017. He has not had a chance to lose to the Crimson Tide as the Gators head coach.

Can Mullen gain his first win against Nick Saban in Atlanta? The Alabama Crimson Tide will deservedly be a solid favorite. But favorites can be upset and the outcomes of offensive shootouts can be unpredictable. A Crimson Tide win would guarantee a CFB Playoff return. A Florida win would make the Tide’s path tricky.

To speculate what might happen if Florida upset the Crimson Tide, current data is helpful. After week 11 of the college football season, the AP Poll and Coaches PollESPN FPI and the Allstate Playoff Predictor (also by ESPN) provide clues.

At this point, less than 10 teams have a reasonable chance to make the Playoff field. Though undefeated, BYU and Cincinnati are not in the upper tier group. Only the top eight or so teams in each ranking need to be considered.

Week 12 AP Poll

  1. Alabama Crimson Tide
  2. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
  3. Ohio State Buckeyes
  4. Clemson Tigers
  5. Texas A&M Aggies
  6. Florida Gators

Week 12 Coaches Poll

  1. Alabama Crimson Tide
  2. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
  3. Ohio State Buckeyes
  4. Clemson Tigers
  5. Florida Gators
  6. Texas A&M Aggies

Allstate Playoff Predictor

  1. Alabama Crimson Tide – 88.8 percent odds to make Playoff
  2. Ohio State Buckeyes – 61.4 percent to make Playoff
  3. Wisconsin Badgers – 54.9 percent to make Playoff
  4. Notre Dame Fighting Irish – 48.7 percent to make Playoff
  5. Clemson Tigers – 42.8 percent to make Playoff
  6. Oregon Ducks – 29.8 percent to make Playoff
  7. BYU Cougars – 25.1 percent to male Playoff
  8. Florida Gators – 17.9 percent to make Playoff

ESPN FPI Ranking

  1. Alabama Crimson Tide – 30.7
  2. Ohio State Buckeyes – 29.2
  3. Wisconsin Badgers – 29.1
  4. Clemson Tigers – 26
  5. Florida Gators – 21
  6. Georgia Bulldogs – 20.7
  7. Notre Dame Fighting Irish – 20.3
  8. Oklahoma Sooners – 20.1
  9. Oregon Ducks – 19.7

The Selection Committee looks at the FPI, along with other data points. How much impact the FPI data makes on the Committee is not known.

The AP and Coaches polls appear to be discounting Wisconsin because the Badgers have only played two games. Ohio State has only played three, with no similar down-grading.

Alabama football fans should be encouraged by the current FPI. The Florida Gators are rated above Notre Dame. Even two-loss Georgia is rated higher than the Irish.

What Crimson Tide fans want to know is the future Selection Committee response to one scenario. Clemson beats Notre Dame in the ACC Championship while the Gators upset the Crimson Tide. Does the SEC get two Playoff teams or does the ACC?

Five iterations of the Selection Committee rankings will provide the answer. What is already clear is the Alabama Crimson Tide needs the Gators and Aggies to keep winning in the regular season. After the Crimson Tide beats Auburn on Nov. 28, the Aggies need to beat the Tigers in Jordan-Hare on Dec. 5.

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The CFB Playoff Selection Committee will issue rankings on Nov. 24 and the 1st, 8th and 15th of December. The final, Selection Sunday ranking will be on Sunday, Dec. 20.