Chaos reigned on conference championship Saturday.
Utah upset one-loss USC big. Kansas State upset TCU in overtime. All of a sudden, the once virtually non-existent playoff hopes for two-loss Alabama football became more possible.
The figurative door seemed to crack open ever so slightly after Saturday. Then the CFP committee shut it Sunday. There just wasn’t enough pandemonium for Alabama to make the College Football Playoff this year.
The Crimson Tide (10-2) was not included in the four-team field for the first time since 2019 and only the second time all time since the playoff started in 2014. Alabama was ranked No. 5.
The top four teams are No. 1 Georgia, No. 2 Michigan, No. 3 TCU and No. 4 Ohio State. TCU and Ohio State each have one loss.
Instead, Alabama is expected to head to the Sugar Bowl for the 17thth time in program history. The highest ranked SEC team that doesn’t make the playoff goes to New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl. That game will be played on Saturday, Dec. 31 (11 am, CT, ESPN) against Kansas State.
Nick Saban, coaching at his 16th season, made the best case he could for his team to sneak into the playoff. With Alabama not playing in the SEC Championship Game, Saban made the media rounds Saturday.
ALABAMA FOOTBALL:Alabama football bowl game: Projections, live updates from selection day
Nick Saban:How much could Nick Saban, Alabama football assistants earn in bowl game bonuses?
“I think the whole goal is to get the best teams in the playoff,” Saban said Saturday on SportsCenter. “If there are any teams that are getting in the playoff that we had to play, would we be the underdog? Or would we be the favourite? If we would be the favorite, that means we’re the better team.”
Alabama lost in October to Tennessee on a last-second field goal. Then in early November, the Crimson Tide lost in overtime to LSU, the SEC West champion.
“We lost two games on the road to one top-5 team and one top-10 team on the last play of the game,” Saban said on ESPN platforms Saturday. “But now that (Bryce Young) is healthier and he’s able to practice, I think we’re a different team.And I think you should look at the circumstances around a 2-loss team versus a 1-loss team and how they are playing at the end of the season, how they are playing at present “I think our team played well down the stretch and we’re playing well at present. We are 5th in the nation in scoring offense, and 10th in scoring defense.”
Still, Alabama’s best win was over Texas, a team TCU also beat. But against that common opponent, the Crimson Tide wins on a last-second field goal. TCU won by a touchdown. Plus Alabama was primarily facing Texas’ backup, not Quinn Ewers who got hurt in the first half.
Although TCU lost to Kansas State on Saturday, the Horned Frogs beat the Wildcats in the regular season, which was TCU’s best win of the year.
As for the comparison with Ohio State, the Buckeyes had a bad loss to No. 2 Michigan. But that was the only loss, and Ohio State wins over Penn State and Notre Dame.
“I think you look at the big wins as well as part of this,” CFP chair Boo Corrigan said on ESPN. “The win Ohio State has over Notre Dame, the win they have over Penn State. Compare that to Alabama with the wins over Texas, Mississippi State, some other close games. Keep in mind, the Michigan game did get away from (Ohio State) ), but it was a one-score game early in the fourth quarter. As we looked at the total body of work that we had, the committee was comfortable with Ohio State at four and Alabama at five.”