| NEWS Alabama's Playoff Chances Trending Upward- SI

Priors carry here for what has been our highest-ranked team for most of the season. With a very easy path to the ACC title (92% in our simulations), it would take a lot for the committee not to allow in the reigning national champions, especially with how this team is trending. Trevor Lawrence started the year slowly but has earned a 70.0-or-better PFF grade in all but one game since Week 4, and an 85.0-plus grade in each of the last three games. Their defense has earned an 80.0 overall grade or better in three of the last four games, and if Brett Venables can work his magic during the tournament, Lawrence and one of the best groups of receivers in college football should be able to bring back-to-back titles back to Clemson.

2. LSU (81%, 17%)
The most deserving category is swept by the LSU Tigers, who find themselves as one of only three unbeaten teams left yet have played the eighth most difficult schedule in the FBS up to this point. Joe Burrow is the runaway winner of the Heisman trophy and currently leads all of college football with 28 big-time throws. He is the most accurate passer we have seen in the PFF College era, posting an accurate throw on over 76% of attempts. As a passing unit, they rank fourth in the country in EPA generated per attempt. Their offense steals the headlines, but LSU’s defense has been above adequate at hanging onto leads. Their coverage unit grades as the 19th best in the nation while allowing a successful pass play from an EPA standpoint on just 40% of attempts. The Tigers rank seventh overall in both our offensive and defensive opponent-adjusted metrics, making this LSU team one of the most balanced with the highest offensive upside in the country.

3. ALABAMA (50%, 14%)
A one-loss Alabama squad loses a lot of luster in the eyes of the committee with the season-ending injury to Tua Tagovailoa. They are most likely on the outside looking in at the SEC title game with few opportunities remaining to make a statement for why they deserve to be in the college football playoff. Alabama is clearly the team most dependent on how the committee will make their selections and are the main example of why forecasting the playoff race is incredibly difficult. Thankfully, Mac Jones still gets to throw to the best receiving unit in the country. As a receiving unit, Alabama posts 9.3 yards after the catch per reception; they rank third nationally with an 89.8 receiving grade and have caught over 90% of the catchable passes thrown. The loss to Tagovailoa is significant, but if the only blemish on the Crimson Tide resume is a loss to the number-one seeded team in the college football playoff bracket, then a case can be made by the committee for why Alabama is the most deserving one-loss team in the country.

4. OHIO STATE (63%, 13%)
Third overall in our opponent-adjusted offensive metric, the Buckeyes also have the third-best EPA per pass attempt in the FBS. Justin Fields has been the only quarterback in the country to keep pace with Joe Burrow, as his 93.2 overall passing grade is tied for first with Burrow. Their offense is clearly one of the best units in the country, but their defense might be the best overall. As a team, the Buckeyes have the highest-graded pass-rush and coverage units in the country. They allow a -.571 EPA per pass attempt, which is by far the best mark in the country. Chase Young is set to return to this defense that has NFL-level talent at every position. Ohio State has its most difficult stretch of regular-season games still to come, which is why we are slightly lower than we probably should be on their current playoff and National Title odds.

5. GEORGIA (47%, 12%)
Due in large part to preseason priors, we would likely have Georgia favored should they make the SEC title game against a team like LSU, and such a win would likely get them into the CFP despite their mid-season loss to South Carolina. While handicapping them as favorites against LSU is probably a bit aggressive, there are reasons to like the Bulldogs, namely the fact that they have a quarterback and a defense that rivals any in the country, and they will be playing close to home in the Atlanta. The seventh-highest-graded defense in college football boasts the country’s third-highest-graded coverage unit, and they should give Joe Burrow his toughest test so far this season should they meet. Jake Fromm has been underwhelming at times but still has the country’s fifth-highest passing grade. His experience playing in big college football games the last two years could be the difference if Georgia takes care of business the next few weeks.

6. OKLAHOMA (26%, 5%)
It has not been a banner three games for the Sooners, losing against Kansas State and winning their next two games by a combined four points against Iowa State and Baylor. That said, they have a 66% chance of winning the Big 12 title, and if one or more SEC and/Pac 12 teams falter, there is a case to be made for Jalen Hurts and company if the criteria is wanting the best teams in the tournament. The Sooners' defense would (again) be the worst facet of any team in the College Football Playoff, but their offense, averaging 0.49 expected points added every time they drop back to pass, would likely make the quarter-final game as exciting as their matchup against Alabama last year, a game that they could have won with an extra quarter of play.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama football team has known for a while that it would need help in order to make the College Football Playoff this season.

On Saturday, it got some.

With both No. 6 Oregon losing at Arizona State 31-28, and No. 8 Penn State falling at No. 2 Ohio State, 28-17, the Crimson Tide no longer has to worry about either school potentially leapfrogging it by winning its conference championship.

That's not to say that it can't happen, or not with another school, but it's not as plausible. The CFP selection committee hasn't been overly impressed with either No. 7 Utah or No. 9 Oklahoma even though both will obviously move up this week.

Despite being without injured quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (hip), Alabama defeated Western Carolina 66-3 on Saturday.

The Crimson Tide's spot in a semifinal may be as simple as this: Beat Auburn next week and No. 4 Georgia takes another loss.

Although the Bulldogs have played a monster schedule this season, they haven't been overly impressive down the stretch. Saturday, Georgia held on at home on to defeat unranked Texas A&M, 19-13.

Georgia has two games to play, both in Atlanta. Next week it's at Georgia Tech (3-8), followed by the SEC Championship Game. No. 1 LSU clinched the SEC West on Saturday.

Should Georgia win out, the selection committee would almost certainly keep LSU ahead of Alabama due to the Tigers' 46-41 victory at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Nov. 9.

LSU hosts Texas A&M next week. Last year the teams played to a 74-72 final in seven overtimes.

All this assumes that No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Clemson win out as well.

The Buckeyes visit No. 13 Michigan next week and followed by the winner of No. 12 Wisconsin at No. 10 Minnesota in the Big Ten Championship Game — meaning Ohio State will be facing three top-15 opponents in as many weeks.

Clemson visits South Carolina next week followed by the winner of Virginia Tech at Virginia in the ACC Championship Game. The Tigers are currently the league's lone ranked team. \

Even if it's just to be on the safe side, Alabama fans should continue to root the against one-loss teams ranked in the top 10.

Utah has to win against Colorado next week to play Oregon in the Pac-12 title game.

Oklahoma travels to Oklahoma State for its Bedlam rivalry game, followed by a rematch with Baylor in the Big 12 title game. The Sooners squeaked out a 34-31 victory in Waco last week, and one has to believe the Bears will be eager for another shot.

The next playoff rankings are set to be released Tuesday at 6 p.m. CT.

The CFP semifinals are set for Dec. 28 at the Peach Bowl in Atlanta and the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Arizona.
There are a few talking points we're hearing that I find entertaining.

One of them I've heard more than a half of a dozen times, today alone. "Alabama is back in the conversation." This one I just don't get. Every week when we've heard discussion about the playoffs and the committee's decision/choices I've heard Alabama mentioned each and every time. Since the LSU loss, I'm still hearing about Alabama when the media talks about the playoffs. If I've been hearing it for weeks now, how is it "back in the conversation?"

Another is one I'd love to have a conversation about, "If Alabama gets in it's due to their brand."

Their brand. How is this defined, exactly? Because the Tide has been winning so consistently over the years? Now, sitting at 10-1, are they not still consistently winning? Is the brand defined by winning in the post season and if so how is that a bad thing? Am I the only one seeing this "catchphrase" fall in on itself? If the brand is based on winning how is that a disqualifier?

This is not an argument one way or another. It's not a matter of "in or out." It's a matter of what is being tossed around as bullet points which, in my view, do nothing but strengthen arguments for the Tide's inclusion.

I doubt this is the last comment/observation on this discussion but this one I'll close this post with:

The "best four teams" is a thing? I thought it was the intent of the playoffs. 🤷‍♂️
Quick question - Does the Big 12 have a Championship game anymore?

I'm still a little concerned that OU would pop in ahead of us. Winning a championship game would help their cause, but obviously losing it would destroy them
Quick question - Does the Big 12 have a Championship game anymore?

I'm still a little concerned that OU would pop in ahead of us. Winning a championship game would help their cause, but obviously losing it would destroy them
Yes, it's the top two. Which make no sense to me, because both has already played each other.
It going to be a rematch of Oklahoma vs Baylor just last week OK came from behind to beat baylor 34-31.
Quick question - Does the Big 12 have a Championship game anymore?

I'm still a little concerned that OU would pop in ahead of us. Winning a championship game would help their cause, but obviously losing it would destroy them

I can't imagine they get in after losing to a three loss team, though I get your point about beating a twelve win team. With that being said, who has Baylor really beaten? In the end, our loss is better than theirs and their Championship win shouldn't hurt us because our loss is playing for the Championship. If we were in the East we would be playing LSU. So #1 keeping us out of the conference Championship shouldn't hurt us as much as their fans want it to.
Allstate Playoff Predictor

"Allstate Playoff Predictor

Team (Record)

Make Playoff Win Title

Ohio State (11-0) 95% 37%

Clemson (11-0) 87% 27%

LSU (11-0) 86% 15%

Georgia (10-1) 50% 7%

Alabama (10-1) 47% 12%

Oklahoma (10-1) 12% 1%

Utah (10-1) 9% <1%"
I've seen this coming since the move to the playoffs and away from the BCS. Now, it's the human voters fault.

Fact. No matter how it's done it's going to be wrong depending on your slant. It's beyond ridiculous.

Even Joey Galloway, who used to be a "I hate bammer" like Danny Kannell, said on last night or this morning's college football show that Bama has the best chance to fill the #4 position.
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