Alabama was eighth in the nation in the Associated Press, Coaches and college football playoff picks last week, beating Austin Peay 34-0 on Saturday. But it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Crimson Tide drop a spot or two in this week’s polls (the only one that really matters is Tuesday night’s CFP selection committee unveiling).
Bama was on the verge of maybe stepping up when some early results arrived.
Tennessee suffered its second loss, and both were steamroller jobs. Obviously going neck and neck is important, but almost anyone who watched Alabama lose at Knoxville would say there were extenuating circumstances. And now the Tide have two last-game losses en route to senior teams, UT a pair of games being routed.
But it was the fasts that really hurt Alabama’s hopes – Michigan got a little help from their friends in streaks to pull off a win over Illinois and TCU with a last-second field goal to defeat Baylor. Southern Cal was behind UCLA but came back to win.
So it’s possible that Alabama could get one of those rare college football shutouts and roll out to victory over Austin Peay, which doesn’t help. And it probably shouldn’t. That’s just one more reason why Bama’s scheduling needs to get better. True, the Tide aren’t the only team playing cupcakes, but that doesn’t excuse training in Alabama, which can spoil perception.
Alabama, which may have had a chance to move up two or three spots in the pick with helpful results, might instead drop to 10th place.
And forget about relying on the eye test. This bama team didn’t pass.
In other Southeastern Conference news:
Tennessee raging for the second time this season likely means the Vols are out of CFP consideration, and that could cost Bama a Sugar Bowl bid. There are suggestions that The Tide could still get a spot in the Orange Bowl.
Troubled Arkansas had a surprise loss to Ole Miss on Saturday and has joined nine other SEC teams eligible for the Bowl — Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Texas A&M at 4-7 is the only conference team unable to qualify for the bowl. The Aggies are 1-6 in the conference and will host LSU Saturday.
Missouri must beat Arkansas to have six wins.
Auburn needs to beat Alabama to qualify for the Bowl (so the Birmingham Bowl is hoping for the upset).
It’s unlikely Vanderbilt can beat Tennessee to qualify for the Bowl, but who knew the Commodores could beat Kentucky and Florida and go into their last game with five wins.
Forecasting only the most likely results on Saturday, the final week of play of the regular season, it looks like Georgia will finish 12-0 and three teams – Alabama, LSU and Tennessee – will be 10-2 (Georgia 13-0 and LSU 9-3 after SEC championship game).