Alabama losing to Auburn could end up helping them, but it could also cause the Crimson Tide to be on the outside looking in when the College Football Playoff teams are announced on December 3rd. The Crimson Tide were one of only four unbeaten teams heading into the final week of the regular season, but their loss combined with Miami’s loss to Pittsburgh means nearly every team in college football has a blemish. FiveThirtyEight’s projections still give Alabama a 52 percent chance to make the playoff even with their Iron Bowl loss.
If Clemson defeats South Carolina, they are the favorites to move up to the top spot in the latest College Football Playoff rankings. With their win over Alabama, Auburn could move as high as two. This is where it gets interesting to see how far the committee drops Alabama with one loss. With Miami’s loss as well, Alabama could still end up ranked second or third.
My sense is we will see Clemson at No. 1, Oklahoma at No. 2, Auburn ranked No. 3 and Alabama at No. 4. What makes it even trickier is the committee likely would have had Alabama ranked higher than Auburn if there was not a head-to-head loss. What will Alabama be rooting for when the conference championships roll around?
Georgia defeating Auburn would help Alabama as it would eliminate the head-to-head metric, but Georgia has a better strength of schedule then would have a conference title which the committee values. In the Big Ten title game, Bama fans should be rooting for Ohio State to defeat Wisconsin. The Buckeyes would have a conference championship, but would also have two losses. Ohio State’s schedule even with a Big Ten title is unlikely to be enough to have them jump Alabama in the standings.
The clearest of all the matchups is in the Big 12, where Crimson Tide fans will be rooting heavily for TCU to defeat Oklahoma in the title game. The Horned Frogs would be conference champs, but currently sit outside the top 10 in the College Football Playoff rankings. Alabama stands a good chance to be ranked higher than TCU, even if they win the Big 12.
Whoever wins the ACC title game between Clemson and Miami will be ranked above Alabama without a conference title. Bama fans should not spend a lot of time worrying about this matchup as it can do little to help their case. With no Pac-12 team ranked in the top 10, the Crimson Tide do not need to worry about what happens out west either.
To summarize, Alabama is rooting for Georgia, TCU and Ohio State during conference title weekend. If this plays out, the Miami-Clemson winner has the top spot, Georgia likely claims second, Alabama slips into third while Ohio State would be the final team to make the playoff. Based on these projections, Alabama could even survive Wisconsin defeating Ohio State in the Big Ten title game as long as TCU beats Oklahoma. Depending on how strong the committee views Alabama, the Crimson Tide could still be in with either a Big Ten or Big 12 upset. The Big 12 picture remains much clearer as to what Alabama is rooting for.
Got all that? You may need a refresher by the time Saturday rolls around, but the best way to understand it is Bama fans are rooting for chaos.