Path To The College Football Playoff: Alabama
What does Alabama have to do to get back to the College Football Playoff?
What’s Alabama’s path to get to the College Football Playoff?
All Alabama’s loaded defense had to do was come up with one last stop, and it would’ve won its second straight College Football Playoff National Championship and would’ve made it three national titles in five years. As is, just getting to the CFP for a third straight time is impressive – now do it again.
And that’s the problem with being a fan of the Crimson Tide or being part of the program. The team can come up with a special season with 14 wins, an SEC championship, and a trip to the big tournament, and it doesn’t matter if there isn’t a national title at the end of the rainbow.
How does Bama make it four final fours in a row? How does it get back into the mix? What is Alabama’s path to the College Football Playoff?
Step One: The New Guy Needs To Be Up To Snuff
No coach in college football has more pressure on him than Brian Daboll, taking over an offense that should be among the most effective and efficient in the country if all goes according to plan. However, it needs a few new star receivers, two good O linemen need to be replaced, and someone to replace uber-decoy TE O.J. Howard. The Bama defense will be the Bama defense – it’ll be among the five best in the country again. But the offense has to be ready to roll from the opening kickoff, because is has to deal with …
Step Two: Florida State
We’ve heard it all before. USC was supposed to give Alabama a fight last year’s opener – whatever. Wisconsin showed up and hung around to kick off the 2015 season, and still lost by 18. West Virginia wasn’t bad in the 2014 opener, Virginia Tech lost by 25 to start out 2013, and Michigan was annihilated in a 41-14 clunker in 2012. Alabama always plays tough games in Week One, and it always wins big.
But Florida State might be better than Alabama.
The Seminoles could start out the season as the preseason No. 1, or it’ll at least be in the top five, with a boatload of future NFL starters on both sides of the ball. The Noles are more than good enough to beat Bama, but to also win their second national title in five years. The Crimson Tide can lose this and still get to the CFP by winning out, but there wouldn’t be any more margin for error.
Step Three: Get To October 28th Without Any Drama
For almost anyone else, having to go to Vanderbilt and Texas A&M, and facing Ole Miss, Arkansas and Tennessee would be daunting, but if this is another College Football Playoff-worthy team this shouldn’t be a problem.
On the right day if everything goes right – or wrong for the Crimson Tide – Arkansas and/or Tennessee could absolutely pull off an upset. Ole Miss has played Bama tough the last two seasons, and Texas A&M is always dangerous at home. But this has to be as business-as-usual run for the Tide before getting to the week off on October 28th.
Step Four: Be Ready For A Big November
LSU is going to be as physical and tough as anyone on the slate, but the showdown is in Tuscaloosa. Can QB Nick Fitzgerald and Mississippi State pull off something special in Starkville? Coming off the layup against UMass, it should be ready to roll, and the Iron Bowl against Auburn is on the road. Of course, it all depends on whether or not the Crimson Tide are unbeaten going into the final month – they can afford a loss if they are – but they have to get through the finishing kick alive and ready to …
Step Five: Win The SEC Championship. Again.
Alabama can still get into the College Football Playoff if it goes 12-0 and loses the SEC Championship, but that’s hardly a given. It’s better for the Fighting Sabans to handle the situation themselves.
13-0 would mean a No. 1 seed and a spot in the Sugar Bowl no matter what. 12-1 with an SEC title 99% means a spot in the playoff, and even 11-2 with a conference title might be just enough to get it done if the SEC turns out to be the best league in college football.
So … What Are The Chances Alabama Gets Into The 2017-2018 College Football Playoff?
Very, very, very good.
Imagine a college basketball team making it to four straight Final Fours. Making it to the College Football Playoff for four years in a row would be even more impressive.
Lose two games in the regular season, or hiccup in the SEC title game, and the CFP streak likely comes to a stop, but that’s the impossibly high standard and expectation set under Nick Saban. Unless the wheels come off – relatively speaking – the Crimson Tide should be in the hunt again with a not-that-bad schedule compared to past seasons, especially if they get by Florida State to kick things off.
To put it another way, you’ll probably never go wrong by picking Alabama to do something big.