Alabama Football: Clear Playoff path for Tide not as clear for others

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

One of the many advantages of Alabama Football playing in the SEC is the league’s clout in CFB Playoff rankings. In the eight years of the Playoff, SEC teams have earned 10 of the 32 available slots.

Two of those 10 SEC teams were not SEC Champions. Both of them won National Championships.

For the 2022 Alabama football team to gain the Tide’s eighth CFB Playoff semi-final game, the path is clear. The Crimson Tide must win the SEC Championship game.

Georgia and Tennessee have the same clear path by winning the SEC Championship game. Not clear, but according to Tony Barnhart, a possibility is the SEC ending up with three CFB Playoff teams.

Even if the SEC has three of the best four teams after the conference championship games, it is hard to imagine the CFB Playoff Selection Committee being so bold. It is their foremost task to select the four best teams every season. But, the committee has endured so much heat from unchosen teams, their original intent may have been discarded.

Many Alabama football fans would love a rematch with Tennessee in Atlanta. The Selection Committee will have a dilemma if, on the night of Dec. 3, Alabama beats a previously undefeated Tennessee team, after Georgia has finished its season at 11-1 and is ranked in the top four in the traditional polls. As Barnhart says, a good argument could be made for all three teams to move on to the semi-finals.

Alabama Football and Playoff Projections

As the SEC Champion, Alabama would be a lock. Technically, maybe ‘near-lock’ is correct, with placing such a result at 98% probability to make the Playoff. The same source projects that after wins over each team’s next opponent, Playoff chances are: Georgia, 63%; Clemson, 62%; Ohio State 60%; Michigan, 36%; Tennessee, 35% and Alabama 32%.

Another interesting point from the FiveThirtyEight algorithm is it projects Alabama Football with the fourth best chance to win out, at 22%. The same calculation for Ohio State is 36%, Clemson at 29% and Georgia at 28%.

According to the ESPN FPI, only six teams have a greater than 10.8% chance to make the Playoffs. Those six are Ohio State, 80.7%; Georgia, 70.8%; Clemson, 53.7%; Alabama, 52.7%; Michigan, 51.4% and Tennessee, 48.9%.

ESPN’s Allstate Playoff Predictor provides a handy tool to calculate the Playoff chances of 11 teams. Interestingly, it projects the highest probability for a Pac12 Champion to make the Playoffs as Oregon, at just 52%.

The week eight slate of games will not change much. Among the six teams listed above, perhaps Clemson, against Syracuse is the most vulnerable. Georgia and Michigan have open weeks. The other four should win their games.

Next. Tough road trips ahead for the Crimson Tide. dark

We’ll keep following these algorithms as the games play out, leading up to the first CFB Playoff rankings on Nov. 1.