As the calendar closes in on November, the teams that legitimately qualify for the College Football Playoff slim down to single-digits. Even now, the committee is only looking at 10 teams at the most.
Alabama and Clemson seem to be shoe-ins, as the two most dominant teams over the last few years remain undefeated this season. These two teams have met the last four years in the playoffs, three of those meetings coming in the championship game.
The Tigers most likely will not be able to survive a loss, due to a soft conference schedule, but it could benefit them down the stretch.
The toughest game remaining for the Tigers is No. 25 Wake Forest, and they shouldn’t be an issue for the powerful Clemson team. South Carolina could prove to be another tough game. The Gamecocks have already previously upset No. 3 Georgia.
It’s possible the Tigers’ season ends without a ranked opponent on their schedule, making it difficult to justify a loss. Alabama, on the other hand, might be able to still make the playoffs with a loss due to the strength of the SEC.
Despite their weaker schedule, Clemson should still be viewed as a top team in the country. Trevor Lawrence is arguably the best quarterback in the country, and he has the experience after dominating two playoff games last year.
The Tigers also boast a great defense and one of the best coaches in college football.
Alabama has walked through the first part of their schedule with ease, its toughest opponent being Texas A&M, but the Crimson Tide have tough games against LSU and Auburn coming up. Both are teams that can reach the playoffs with a win over Alabama.
LSU is set to play the Crimson Tide on Nov. 9, a game that could decide the fate of the SEC West. If Alabama can get past LSU, they will then have to take on their in-state rival, Auburn, in the Iron Bowl.
Auburn and LSU have both had surprisingly good play at the quarterback position, Bo Nix for Auburn and Burrow for LSU.
The Crimson Tide are currently favorites in both games, but the health of their star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is in question. His status for the LSU game is still unknown.
Even without Tagovailoa, Alabama is the most feared team in the nation. Its defense is always respected throughout the county as long as Nick Saban is the head coach.
The surprise for Alabama is the offense. They have the eighth-ranked offense in the country, third in yards per play, giving their defense more than enough support.
If the “Tide” only loses once and it comes from a team with playoff potential, they can likely get in.
If Alabama loses to LSU on Nov. 9, the Iron Bowl will turn into a must-win game due to the selection committee not selecting a team with two losses.
It is also likely that the “Tide” might lose their chance at an SEC Championship if they lose any of their remaining conference games.
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Asst. Sports Editor
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