James Jones column: Alabama needs help to make CollegeFootball Playoffs

Published 5:45 am Friday, December 1, 2023

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Odds are against the Alabama football team winning the SEC Championship and reaching the college football playoff.

The No. 8 Crimson Tide (11-1) are five-point underdogs to knock off top-ranked Georgia (12-0) in the SEC Championship Game on Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. CBS -TV will televise the 3 p.m. contest.

Should Alabama pull off an upset over Georgia, the Crimson Tide may end up being left out of the playoffs. Behind Georgia are Michigan, Washington and Florida State, followed by Oregon Ohio State, Texas and Alabama.

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I find that hard to believe, because of the SEC’s dominance in the playoff. Since the playoff format began in 2014, the SEC has won six national titles. Alabama won in 2015, 2017 and 2020. Georgia has won the last two. LSU won it all in 2019.

No team of Alabama’s low ranking ever made the playoff, but none of that matters if Alabama wins.

Based on reputation alone, I feel that a 12-1 SEC champion should always be included in a four-team playoff. 

Here’s what Alabama needs to punch its playoff ticket, along with a win over Georgia:

-Oklahoma State knocks off Texas in Big 12 Championship Game. 

-Washington beat Oregon in Pac-12 Championship Game.

The Longhorns knocked Alabama 34-24 two months ago at Bryant-Denny Stadium, another factor against the Crimson Tide.

Playoff committee chair Boo Corrigan said in a conference call that head to head competition is important. 

“Head-to-head is head-to-head, no matter when the game is played,” Corrigan said. “And that’s how we look at it.”

I disagree. If Alabama beats the No. 1 team, it’s in. Michigan also beat a No. 1 team, Ohio State.

The problem won’t go away with playoff expanding to 12 teams in 2024.