Alabama Football: What CFB Playoff committee should and will do tonight

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

Knowing the only path to the Playoffs for Alabama Football is to win out, Crimson Tide fans are not anxious about the first Selection Committee ranking. When the release occurs Tuesday night, Alabama will be close enough to the top for now.

There being little drama about the Alabama Crimson Tide does not mean passions will not become inflamed otherwise.

The Selection Committee has no responsibility to follow any other source of team rankings. This football season puts added pressure on the committee to perform well. ESPN’s Heather Dinich posed the core question of will the committee value eye test or resume more.

Debating eye tests offers little clarity. Opinions of teams vary widely and the only eye-test opinions that matter belong to the 13 members of the Selection Committee.

Resume comparisons are also debatable but they are, at least, based on data. Data is available from many sources and two prominent ones are the ESPN FPI and the Sagarin Ratings.

For how Tuesday night’s first rankings should go, let’s consider not the ESPN FPI rankings, but the ESPN calculated Strength of Record (SOR) and Jeff Sagarin’s ‘Real’ algorithm that weights, by most recent game results. The lists below include only the top nine teams in each category.

Current ESPN SOR

  1. Tennessee Vols
  2. Ohio State Buckeyes
  3. TCU Horned Frogs
  4. Clemson Tigers
  5. Georgia Bulldogs
  6. Alabama Crimson Tide
  7. Michigan Wolverines
  8. Oregon Ducks
  9. Ole Miss Rebels

Sagarin Real Ratings

  1. Ohio State Buckeyes
  2. Alabama Crimson Tide
  3. Georgia Bulldogs
  4. Tennessee Vols
  5. Michigan Wolverines
  6. Oregon Ducks
  7. Utah Utes
  8. Southern Cal Trojans
  9. Texas Longhorns

Sagarin’s algorithm has Clemson at No. 12, below LSU and TCU.

Perhaps the most interesting point from the two lists is three SEC teams being in the top six of one and in the top four of the other.

Where the CFB Playoff Selection Committee should place Alabama Football

Based on the above calculations, the Alabama Crimson Tide should be at No. 5 and at worst, not below No. 6. Ohio State, Georgia and Tennessee, whether they are believed to be the three best teams or not, should be the top three. At No. 4, should be one of the undefeated teams, and it could be any one of Clemson, Michigan and TCU.

However, schedules weaker than the Crimson Tide’s do not justify the three undefeated teams pushing Alabama down to No. 7. Alabama at No. 5 would be too bold to be called a should, but the Crimson Tide should be no lower than No. 6.

Predicting the Nov. 1 Ranking Top Seven

  1. Ohio State
  2. Georgia
  3. Tennessee
  4. Clemson
  5. Michigan
  6. TCU
  7. Alabama

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Whatever the results tonight, Alabama football fans can patiently wait for the Crimson Tide to play out its own destiny.