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Scenarios That Keep Alabama Out Of the Playoff

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It’s not as sure a thing as you think

LSU v Alabama Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Wow, what a game, right? After eight straight agonizing losses that left us hopeless, LSU’s 46-41 win over Alabama will certainly go down as one of the most legendary games in program history.

As big as that win was, the 2019 season still has several chapters left to write. While LSU seems like a virtual lock to win the SEC West and go to the College Football Playoff, its Crimson counterpart has a much more murky fate.

Could Alabama make the College Football Playoff despite the loss to LSU? Certainly. Would LSU fans object to that? Probably not! I mean LSU beat them once, surely if they played again LSU would just win a second time, right?

Look, letting the worries of yesteryear dampen what might be the most exciting LSU football season of our lifetimes is no way to live. But I understand the fear and trauma behind an LSU-Alabama rematch. It’s far from a certain thing, so let’s examine the potential scenarios that would send Saban and company to a dreaded consolation game.

Operation Bama Ain’t Played Nobody

  • LSU beats Ole Miss, Arkansas, Texas A&M. SEC champion
  • Ohio State, Clemson, Oklahoma and Oregon OR Utah win out
  • Georgia and Alabama both beat Auburn

There’s already been a fair amount of “WHO BAMA BEATEN?” this season, but many have pointed to Alabama’s Nov. 30 match-up at Auburn as a chance to put a solid win on its resume. However, if Auburn loses to both Georgia and Alabama, they would finish at 8-4. Is that still a quality win? Perhaps not. Sure Oregon lost to that Auburn team, but they would have a win over a top-10 Utah team and a conference title. Ohio State and Clemson would be locks, and Oklahoma might have a solid case with wins over Baylor, Oklahoma State and likely either Texas or Baylor a second time. Oklahoma, Oregon or Utah would all have more wins against CURRENTLY ranked teams than Alabama. I’m not super confident the CFP Committee would pick one of them over the Tide, but there’s a real solid chance.

Operation West Coast Bias

Most people have written this one off already, but let’s look at it for a second. Alabama is likely to be No. 4 when the rankings come out Tuesday. Oregon and Utah, assuming they win out, will be right on the cusp of the Top 5. If the No. 5 or No. 6 team in the country beats the No. 5 or No. 6 team, they should leap above a No. 4 team that didn’t play a game, right?

I don’t know if there’s an exact way we should root for the game to unfold, but that game will mean a lot for the Playoff race. I’m not ready to write either of these teams off.

I don’t know how much storylines and potential TV drama affect these decisions, but if the Pac-12 champion gets the fourth Playoff spot, that would set up Tua Tagovailoa vs. Jalen Hurts in the Sugar Bowl. I know some people will loooove that.

Operation OK Boomer

  • Oklahoma beats Baylor, Oklahoma State, Baylor/Texas again

For as much as everyone wrote off Oklahoma after an admittedly bad loss to Kansas State, they could potentially play three ranked teams down the stretch to bolster their resume. They still play Baylor and Oklahoma State on the road, both of whom are currently ranked. Then they have the Big 12 Championship Game which will almost certainly be against Texas or Baylor, who will certainly be ranked if they make it to Dallas.

They may seem buried at No. 9 right now and had a dicey game against the Cyclones, but three wins against ranked teams in four weeks can go a long way. Maybe the committee will recognize that.

Operation Gus Saves His Job Part 7

  • Auburn beats Alabama

Pretty simple, right? I’m curious to see how this match-up goes after Auburn’s defense gave LSU way more problems than Alabama’s. Bo Nix hasn’t shown he can be super effective through the air, but let us not forget that Jarrett Stidham and Kerryon Johnson made easy work of Saban’s defense just two years ago. So anything is possible!

Operation WE ARE in the Playoff

  • Penn State beats Ohio State Nov. 23

Penn State’s playoff chances took a big blow with a close loss to Minnesota Saturday. This takes some of the spice out of the BIG NUDE SATURDAY MATCH-UP OF THE YEAR in two weeks when the Nittany Lions head to Columbus. Ohio State has been the most dominant team in the country and looks ready to cruise into the CFP now that the game against Penn State won’t be a battle of two 10-0 teams.

But the stakes of that game are still the same. If Penn State were to beat Ohio State, the Nittany Lions would get into the Playoff as a 12-1 Big Ten champion, assuming they beat Minnesota the second time around. Now the task for the committee is deciding whether the last spot should go to 11-1 Ohio State or 11-1 Alabama. Considering the Buckeyes were ranked two spots above Bama in the initial poll, I’m inclined to say yes. Especially after adding a road win over a 9-3 Michigan.

Operation Row the Damn Boat

-12-0 Minnesota defeats 12-0 Ohio State

This is the same concept as the last scenario, except Ohio State’s loss comes in the Big Ten Championship against PJ Fleck’s Golden Gophers. As absurd as it is to imagine, a 13-0 Minnesota team will be in the Playoff. And a 12-1 Ohio State with wins over four currently ranked teams would absolutely be over Bama.

Operation Rhule Of Thumb

-Baylor goes 13-0 and secured the 4-seed

I mean, sure!

Operation Dawg For A Day

-Georgia beats LSU in the SEC Championship Game

We’ve elevated to another plane of thinking here. You wanna know how psychologically tormented we are by Alabama? This is a legitimate scenario where we may root for our own team to LOSE a CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME. Let’s examine why this may work.

This only works if Georgia beats Auburn and Texas A&M these next two weeks. That would pit an 11-1 Georgia against a 12-0 LSU in the SEC Championship Game. If LSU wins, 13-0 LSU is in the Playoff alongside presumed conference champions Ohio State and Clemson, leaving one spot open for a potential 11-1 Alabama.

But let’s consider what happens if Georgia wins…

12-1 SEC Champion Georgia is a lock for the Playoff along with OSU and Clemson. But that 4-seed? LSU is absolutely getting it. A 12-1 LSU team with wins over Texas, Florida, Auburn and Ala-freaking-bama is a better resume than anyone else.

As much as I hate Alabama and wish to avoid a potential rematch, I can’t bring myself to root for my team to lose on such a big stage. But I have to discuss this scenario because frankly, it’s bulletproof.

Operation Hot Takes

Get Colin Cowherd to GUARANTEE Alabama will make the Playoff. They’ll be sitting at home for sure.