Alabama followers had been believing that it didn’t really matter if the Crimson Tide made it to the Southeastern Conference Championship Game. Just win out, was the familiar mantra, and there’s no way an 11-1 Bama with its one loss on the road at Ole Miss would be left out of the inaugural College Football Playoff.
That was before the thinking of the CFP Selection Committee was revealed in its first rankings. Now we know that nothing with this group of 12 can be taken for granted. Alabama needs to win its way to the top four; and more than that the Tide needs to have a conference championship in its pocket whtn that final vote comes.
That certainly does not mean it is a cakewalk for Alabama. This Crimson Tide is not as crisp as most of Nick Saban’s squads have been. They have more penalties and more turnovers and fewer takeaways and don’t tackle as well as some others.
In fact, it looks like something is going on in college football this year where several of the big boys are not as good as usual. Everyone in the Big Ten who is usually good, Oregon, Florida State, Oklahoma. If you don’t know football and can’t see that, ask someone who does.
Everything is relative, however, and the fact is that Bama has four games remaining in regular season and three of them will be very, very though for this edition of the Tide.
It starts this week at LSU, where the Bengal Tigers have been improving since some early losses, including a blowout at Auburn. Kickoff Saturday in Baton Rouge will be at 7 p.m. CST (did you remember to Fall Back at 2 a.m. today?) with television coverage by CBS.
After that, the Tide will be home to two teams that are in the CFP top four – Mississippi State on Nov. 15 and Auburn on Nov. 29.
Although Mississippi losing was the big game that Bama needed Saturday (it cemented Auburn as a top four team and opened the door for the Tide to win the SEC West title where the Rebels had the head-to-head advantage), it was also important for Mississippi State to get past Arkansas in Starkville. The Bulldogs held on.
If Alabama makes it as far as it hopes, it may look back on the Saturday of the open date and how lucky Bama was that Lequon Treadwell didn’t make it one more step before fumbling away an Ole Miss victory.