Alabama football fans are ready for another CFB Playoff season. It will be the last season when it will remain truly difficult to make the Playoffs. Alabama Football will again be a strong contender.
Considering it is May, it is a stretch to claim a contender list needs only include six teams. But it is not the stretch implied by the over-used phrase “you’ve got to play the games.” Yes, upsets happen. Between two closely matched teams, no win is ever guaranteed. Beyond those givens is another reality. That reality is in any given season there are almost never more than six teams that can win it all. Many seasons it has been closer to three and even two.
Forget the outliers. In the history of the CFB Playoffs, only seven programs have wins. Only three of the seven have won more than three Playoff games. The nine National Championship games have been won by SEC teams six times. Alabama Football has won three, Georgia two, and LSU, one. No Big 12 or Pac-12 team has won a Playoff-Era National Championship.
Beginning in 2024, greater access will bring some upsets. Even with upsets, outlier teams, like TCU last season, will have little chance to win a National Championship.
Alabama Football and Other 2023 CFB Playoff Contenders
Recently, Patrick Conn for College Sports Wire presented five teams he believes have the easiest paths to the 2023 CFB Playoff semi-finals. There is little to debate in Conn’s list. One statement Conn made about the Alabama Football schedule does warrant some pushback. Conn wrote,
"The (Alabama) away schedule isn’t very daunting with the biggest matchup being a trip to Lexington to take on Kentucky."
Maybe Conn is correct but my vote for the toughest road game is Texas A&M in College Station. Conn earns a pass from Crimson Tide fans by stating the Georgia Bulldogs have the easiest path to the Playoffs.
Per Conn, the second, third and fourth easiest paths are held by Clemson, Michigan and USC, respectively. He says the Alabama Crimson Tide has the fifth easiest path.
It does not take a leap, or even a long step, to conclude the same five teams are the top five Playoff contenders. Maybe the order of No. 2 through No. 5 needs adjustment to project the best chances of making the four-team field. Whatever order is chosen, my projection is to take the five teams and add Penn State to get the top six Playoff contenders. Four, semi-dark horse teams; LSU, FSU, Ohio State and Texas can also be considered.
A bettor can take the FBS field for picking what will be the 4-seed in December. But the other three seeds are probably going to the primary six listed above, or maybe to one of the four semi-dark horses.
The expanded Playoffs in 2024 will be great fun. I doubt it will produce any unlikely National Champions.