Is there a chance Alabama falls out of the top 4? Kirk Herbstreit weighs in
The debut rankings for the College Football Playoff were released Tuesday evening, and the debate on which four teams will play for a national championship continues.
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The first team to hold the No. 1 spot in the Playoff Top 25 is none other than the Georgia Bulldogs. Alabama has held the No. 1 spot in the AP Poll since the start of this season, while Georgia has steadily climbed to the top. Here’s why the committee ranked UGA ahead of Alabama.
The Crimson Tide have dominated their competition this season, but Georgia’s resume is a bit more impressive at this point. Alabama’s matchup to begin the season against Florida State feels like ancient history as the Seminoles are borderline terrible. Meanwhile, Georgia has a road win over Notre Dame and a beatdown over Mississippi State. Both are ranked in the CFP top 25.
The debate that has started is whether or not Alabama or Georgia would fall out of the top four with a loss in the SEC Championship Game. ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit addressed the scenario, but he certainly believes Alabama passes the eye test, even with a hypothetical close loss to Georgia.
“A lot of people look at the metrics, the offensive efficiency and the defensive efficiency. What Jesse (Palmer) is saying, that’s more of the eye test,” said Herbstreit. “Looking subjectively at if this team played that team, who would — based on what I think watching every single week, most of these teams every down — who do we think would win? I think that’s fair. It’s always up to how you personally evaluate these teams. I thought Booger (McFarland) made an interesting point because we do just kind of assume that, ‘OK, if Alabama beats Georgia close, Georgia should still be in the playoff.’ And you’re saying if it’s the other way, Bama would be out because of the resume. That’s where I would come in and I would say, ‘Again, the goal is to put the best four teams, and if Bama lost a close game, should we really penalize Alabama, even though they don’t have the resume? But we do have our eyeballs, and we do watch this team play. Are they not one of the top four teams because they lost to Georgia in a bonus round SEC Championship Game?’ I’m not going by resume, because you’re right, if you’re on resume and who they have beaten and all that, then maybe they are on the outside. But if we’re looking at it objectively and saying, ‘They’re a really good football team,’ I don’t know how you would leave them out of the top four if they lost a close one.”
Alabama’s best chances to strengthen its resume will come against LSU and in a season finale against Auburn. LSU and Auburn were ranked No. 19 and No. 14 on the debut Playoff rankings, and strong wins over those two schools would help the Tide’s resume stand up to Georgia’s.
And believe me, by ranking Alabama No. 2 behind Georgia, you can bet Nick Saban will use that as ammunition for his players. (Sorry, LSU).
Saturday’s kickoff against LSU is set for 8 pm EST on CBS.