US college football rankings shaken up

By Rob Vogt Source:Global Times Published: 2017/11/29 22:33:39

On Saturday, Auburn defeated Alabama 26-14 in the biggest rivalry game for both schools, dubbed The Iron Bowl. While Alabama's loss sent many Tide fans home in a devastated mood, it might have actually improved Alabama's chances to advance to this year's College Football Playoff (CFP).

As CBS Sports' Tom Fornelli pointed out in a Monday column, Alabama's loss excludes them from this upcoming weekend's SEC Championship game between Auburn and Georgia. Ironically, this might be a good thing. Why? Simply because now Alabama cannot lose the conference championship game. Even better, there are other championship games with CFP implications taking place this weekend.

Specifically, USC vs. Stanford, Ohio State vs. Wisconsin, and Oklahoma vs. TCU and Clemson vs. Miami. As Fornelli pointed out in his column, should all of these games be won by the Vegas favorites, there will be three teams considered to be a "lock" for the CFP: Auburn, Oklahoma and Clemson. This will leave the ­selection committee to ­consider three teams for the remaining spot: USC (11-2), Ohio State (11-2) and Alabama (11-1).

Despite the fact that Alabama's loss came in the season's final regular season (a virtual death knell under the BCS), the fact remains that this was their only loss. A team with Alabama's reputation/pedigree will likely be favored to take the fourth playoff spot. Is this a good thing for college football?

But allowing a team that did not win its conference championship (as was the case with Ohio State last year before getting blown out by Clemson) seems to run contrary to the notion that the regular season should matter - a primary contention of hysterical CFP opponents before the system went into effect in 2014. If certain dominoes fall the way Las Vegas thinks they will and the selection committee puts Alabama in college football's "final four," college football fans from all over the country will have quite a bit to discuss during the off-season.

The author is a Chicago-based freelance writer.

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