Stuart McNair

Alabama fans think more about playoff berth than just a bowl game

Alabama and Texas A&M are first SEC teams to be bowl eligible

It really goes unnoticed now, but once upon a time college football teams were anxious to reach the number of victories necessary to achieve bowl eligibility. In those days it took at least a winning record. With the proliferation of bowl games, it became more difficult to have enough teams with winning records, so the threshold was lowered to six wins. Last year the bowls took some teams with losing records to fill out the 42 bowl games plus the four teams in the College Football Playoff.

Rightly or wrongly, Alabama followers are thinking primarily about that College Football Playoff. And Crimson Tide fans don’t just want to get into the CFP, they want Bama to be the top seed in order to play in Atlanta’s Peach Bowl on Dec. 31 rather than the other semifinal game in the Fiesta Bowl in Arizona. And, of course, Tide fans know that the national championship game (which is not defined as a bowl game, we presume) is in Tampa on Jan. 9.

Alabama, by the way, became bowl eligible with its win over Arkansas on Oct. 8. Now the Crimson Tide is 8-0 overall (5-0 in Southeastern Conference games) and having a brief week of work before taking on LSU in Baton Rouge on Nov. 5.

The only other SEC team already bowl eligible is last week’s Bama victim, Texas A&M. The Aggies are now 6-1.

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League teams that are one victory away from being bowl eligible are Florida, Tennessee, Auburn, and Arkansas. Georgia, Kentucky, and Vanderbilt all need two wins to be bowl eligible.

Alabama has a bowl history like no other team. The Tide has played in 63 bowl games, including more than any other team in the traditional Big Four – 15 Sugar Bowls, 8 Orange, 8 Cotton, and 6 Rose.

Alabama holds the record for most bowl wins with 36 (all-time record 36-24-2).

In the championship game era, the Tide has the most BCS titles with three and has won one of the two CFP championships, that one coming last season.

Assuming the SEC gets at least one team into the College Football Playoff, the conference also has agreements to send teams to the Sugar Bowl, Citrus Bowl (Welcome, Vols!), Outback, Music City, Taxslayer (formrly Gator), Liberty, Texas, Belk, Birmingham (hoping for a return trip by Auburn), and Independence. There is also a possibility of an SEC team in the Orange Bowl.

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