James Jones column: Alabama deserved College Football Playoff Berth

Published 5:24 am Thursday, December 7, 2023

Alabama punched its ticket to the College Football Playoff on Sunday.

The Crimson Tide earned the fourth seed and will face Big Ten champion Michigan on New Year’s Day at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.

Social media outlets were full of posts shutting out the SEC from the playoff if Alabama knocked off top-ranked Georgia for the league championship last Saturday. The Crimson Tide prevailed 27-24.

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Alabama got the nod over an undefeated Florida State team that won the ACC Championship.  Boo Corrigan, the selection committee chair, explained why the Crimson Tide earned the fourth seed. Seminoles star quarterback Jordan Travis broke his leg last month and is out for the season.

“I think in looking at it, again, that was a decision with Alabama at 4. Florida State is a different team than they were through the first 11 weeks,” Corrigan told ESPN. ” … You can lose a running back, you can lose a receiver but when you lose a quarterback as dynamic as Jordan Travis, it changes their offense in its entirety and that was a really big factor.”

As I stated last week, a one-loss SEC Champions should always be included in the College Football Playoff.

Saban showed class about the Seminoles’ tough break. He should know. The Crimson Tide were already in trouble, in my opinion, from last year’s playoff selection.

“Florida State certainly going undefeated, did everything they could to get in the Playoff and unfortunately, probably because of the injury to their quarterback were not gonna have that opportunity,” said Saban.

I’ve come to this conclusion: some people either don’t have a clue about the SEC or don’t like the league.

In my opinion: some networks drink SEC “hator-ade” for two reasons: they don’t have a contract with the SEC and no one can beat the league in football when it counts.

I’ll make this point: the SEC has won six of the last eight national titles in football and 13 of the last 17.  If that’s the only way conferences can beat the SEC, the other Power 5 conferences have a serious inferior problem.

If Auburn, LSU, Tennessee, Florida or Ole Miss were in this position, I’d be fighting for them too. The SEC is the toughest conference in the nation.  Any SEC champion earned its way to a high playoff ranking.

“I’m not saying that because I live and work in the SEC, but what I do know is that the SEC is the best conference,” SEC Network Analyst Paul Finebaum told ESPN.

Here’s a riddle for people to answer: why did six schools join the SEC since the early 1990’s.

Ask Arkansas and South Carolina why they joined over 30 years ago. Ask Texas A&M and Missouri why they became members of the SEC over a decade ago. Texas and Oklahoma are coming to the SEC next year and they’ll be happy to say why.

In the end, the College Football Playoff committee did the right thing by picking Alabama for the fourth and final playoff spot.