It’s becoming clearer every week: If Alabama wins out, the Crimson Tide are headed back to the College Football Playoff.

The Tide stayed at No. 2 with an eye on No. 1 Clemson in the playoff poll, released Tuesday night, despite playing an FCS school the same weekend other pursuers played much tougher opponents.

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Strength of schedule matters, and the selection committee has shown a willingness to adjust the rankings each week because of it. Alabama’s body of work, however, more than overcame any possible issues raised by playing an FCS opponent in Week 12.

The playoff pursuers will have no such closing argument, as Alabama finishes the regular season Saturday at Auburn and then, likely, in the SEC Championship Game against Florida.

The question then will shift to, if it hasn’t already: Can the Crimson Tide pass Clemson if the Tigers also win out?