Alabama May Be Closing On No. 1 Clemson

Alabama has games coming up against teams that won’t help the Crimson Tide’s resume with the College Football Playoff Selection Committee, but it looks like that won’t matter.

The only mention CFP Selection Committee Chairman Jeff Long had regarding Alabama was that the committee had spent some time in conversation deciding whether or not Bama with a 9-1 record should be moved ahead of undefeated Clemson into the No. 1 spot.

That didn’t happen. The Clemson team of Coach Dabo Swinney continued undefeated and in the top position, followed by Alabama, and then undefeated Ohio State in the third spot, and Notre Dame fourth.

Some analysts thought that either undefeated Iowa or one of the Big 12 teams – Oklahoma State and Oklahoma are the ones who have improved their positions since the league began playing more competitive football teams in the last two weeks – might overtake Notre Dame, which has a loss.

Long, who is director of athletics at Arkansas, said that Notre Dame remained solidly No. 4 with the committee.

There are two more Saturdays of regular season play and then conference championship games in the Southeastern Conference (No. 8 Florida is already assured of a spot in the SEC title game in Atlanta), Big Ten, Atlantic Coast Conference, and Pac-12 on Dec. 6. The Big 12 does not play a conference championship game and Notre Dame is not in a conference.

The College Football Playoff Selection Committee will have its final result following those conference championship games on Dec. 6.

Alabama plays Charleston Southern Saturday in Bryant-Denny Stadium (3 p.m. CST on the SEC Network) and closes regular season play at Auburn Nov. 28 (CBS televising the 2:30 game). The Tide is a prohibitive favorite against Charleston Southern and then will need to defeat Auburn to win the SEC Western Division and play Florida in the SEC title game.

After the top four were undefeated Iowa at No. 5 and undefeated Oklahoma State at No. 6. Oklahoma, which has been impressive of late, but which has the baggage of a loss to woeful Texas, is seventh in the latest poll.

Alabama has played three ranked teams and hopes to have a chance against a fourth in Florida. The Tide defeated No. 25 Wisconsin in its season opener, lost its first SEC game to No. 22 Ole Miss, and romped past No. 18 LSU (which was No. 2 in the initial poll two weeks ago).

Among the top teams in the poll, Bama has the best strength of schedule. Most believe that Alabama’s play in the past two weeks, throttling Leonard Fournette and defeating LSU 30-16, and then going on the road and turning in nine sacks on the likely All-SEC quarterback, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott and rolling over the Bulldogs 31-6, is what has been the catalyst that pushed Bama to the brink of the No. 1 seed in the CFP poll.

Back-to-back 200-plus-yard rushing games in the past two weeks by Bama’s Derrick Henry – making him a viable Heisman Trophy contender – also helps the Crimson Tide reputation.

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