Alabama Football: The CFB Playoff Selection Committee announced its first ranking for 2020 Tuesday night.
No surprise to Alabama football fans, the College Football Selection Committee ranked the Crimson Tide No. 1 Tuesday night. An also undefeated Notre Dame (No. 2) was equally unsurprising. Clemson (No. 3), edging out an undefeated Ohio State at No. 4 could be viewed a small surprise.
In a broader context, each of the four schools at the top has a clear path to the final four. Win out and they are in. Below the top four in the ranking, the same can be said for Florida No. 6) and Northwestern (No.4). No. 5 Texas A&M, at 5-1, might get in by winning out.
What is left in terms of final four chances does not include any Big 12 teams. A two-loss team has never made the College Football Playoff and that will not change this season. Left in the maybe category are Cinncinati (No. 7) and a future, undefeated Pac 12 Champion. The PAC teams, having played so few teams will have a tough time making up ground on the field. Both at 3-0, Oregon (No. 15) and USC (No. 18) probably have a small chance.
BYU, at 9-0 and ranked No. 14 has a smaller chance. With another win, against a currently unscheduled, but top team, the Cougars might have a slight chance. The remainder of the TOP 25 is playing for prestige and a good bowl game.
Alabama football fans wonder what is possible if the Tide loses. A loss before the SEC Championship game would not eliminate the Crimson Tide. It might drop the Tide as low as No. 4. A one-loss, SEC Champion, Alabama Crimson Tide will be in the final four.
A loss in the SEC Championship is a greater risk. With Florida in the CFB Playoff, for the Crimson Tide to join the Gators would likely mean having to displace a one-loss Notre Dame team. A one-loss, ACC Champion, Clemson would be in the final four.
There are possible, future complications. With two currently undefeated teams, The Big Ten has Ohio State and No. 8 Northwestern in contention. Though unlikely, It is not impossible for the Big Ten to get two Playoff teams.
Another risk to a one-loss Crimson Tide would be an undefeated Cincinnati team. The Bearcats at No. 7 are already the highest-ranked, non-Power Five team in CFB Playoff history. Alabama football fans scoff at anyone believing an undefeated Cincinnati would be a better team than a one-loss Crimson Tide.
The Selection Committee always has a hard task. With fewer games, fewer head-to-heads and distorted data points, the committee will have to rely on ‘eye tests’ more than ever. That should bode well for the Crimson Tide. Picking the best four teams will be a challenge, but past committees have accomplished the task, more often than not.
The complete rankings are available here.
No doubt, Alabama football fans are laughing about the ranking near the bottom of the Top 25. Auburn at No. 22 is rated lower than No. 21 Marshall and No. 20 Coastal Carolina.