Kirk Herbstreit and the ESPN crew were a bit surprised to see Alabama ranked at No. 2 in the first College Football Playoff rankings of the 2021 season.

When the rankings were released on Tuesday night live on ESPN, there were a couple of surprised noises made by the panel of analysts.

However, given a second to look at it, Herbstreit shared his thoughts on Alabama, saying it doesn’t matter where the Tide are ranked, as they need to win out to get in:

“It doesn’t matter where the heck Alabama is,” he said. “If they win out, beat Georgia, they’re in. If they lose to Georgia, they’re out. … No matter what happens, it still comes down to that game in Atlanta.”

Herbstreit is right — if Alabama wins out and wins the SEC Championship Game, it will make the Playoff field (as will Georgia, even with a loss to the Tide, most likely).

Now, the question is whether the Tide can navigate tough games against LSU, Arkansas and Auburn these last 4 weeks.