Going into week seven games, Alabama football fans can peek into how the future CFB Playoff field might end up. The first Playoff rankings will be released on Oct. 31. It will be interesting to see how many undefeated teams are ranked higher than the Alabama Crimson Tide in the first rankings.
Currently, there are 14 undefeated FBS teams. Three of them are non-factors, even if they finish undefeated. Fans of Air Force and Liberty will be disappointed if their undefeated teams are excluded. But the simple fact is neither schedule warrants inclusion. The third undefeated that will not make the field is James Madison. In its first season after moving from the FCS to the FBS, JMU is not eligible.
As published by The Spun, ESPN’s analytics projects only seven undefeated teams will be left at the end of the regular season. According to the ESPN algorithm, the seven are Air Force, Liberty, Florida State, Georgia, Ohio State, Oklahoma, and Oregon.
If the ESPN projection proves to be true, Alabama football fans will root for multiple underdogs in the conference championship games. It is possible that no matter what happens in Atlanta, the Crimson Tide does not make the Playoff field.
One scenario is Florida State, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Oregon win conference championship games. If Georgia was to win in Atlanta, one of the Power Five champions would be left out. If Alabama Football wins in Atlanta, does a one-loss Crimson Tide have the schedule strength to bump out one of the Power Five unbeatens? All of them are currently, correctly ranked above the Crimson Tide.
Alabama Football Fan Explosion
Alabama football fans would explode if the Crimson Tide, as a one-loss SEC Champion did not make the CFB Playoff field. What could cause another and possibly bigger explosion is a one-loss, two-time defending National Champion team in Georgia failing to earn a chance for a three-peat. Such a result would go down in the state of Georgia’s history as a travesty greater than Sherman’s march to the sea.
Another result that would create conflict, though not the shockwaves of an SEC Champion not making the field, is the ACC could finish the regular season with FSU, UNC, and Louisville all undefeated. One of the three would miss out on the ACC Championship, and most likely also not make the Playoff final four.
There is plenty of football left for games to sort out the Playoff pretenders from the contenders. Usually, there are, at most five teams with a credible claim of being Playoff worthy. This season might be different.