The fourth and final Playoff spot is expected to come down to Alabama and Ohio State. Which team will the selection committee select and, perhaps more importantly, which one should they select?

Kirk Herbstreit says Ohio State is the most deserving team but believes Alabama is the best team. According to Nick Saban, he too believes the Crimson Tide should be in the field if the criteria for the Playoff is the four “best” teams.

If you want to compare resumes of the two schools using ESPN’s metrics:

  • Alabama ranks: Football Power Index #1, Strength of Schedule #46, Strength of Record 6th
  • Ohio State ranks: Football Power Index #2, Strength of Schedule #11, Strength of Record 50th

Saban called into SportsCenter following the conclusion of the conference championship games and gave his thoughts on why Alabama deserved to be included:

“I think the first thing is you want to get the four best teams in the Playoff. I think you have to look at the total body of work that a team did for the entire season. I would say that if we lost to a team in our conference that wasn’t ranked by 30 points, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation, you wouldn’t even be talking to me.

“We’ve had 40 games missed by defensive starters, 37 of those starts will be back if we are fortunate enough to make the Playoff. We lost to Auburn at Auburn, which is a rivalry game for us. Tough place to play — Georgia lost by a whole bunch there too, a lot more than we did, and they are in the Playoff. They played their way into it but I think if the four best teams get in, we’ll get a lot of really strong consideration.

“I think our team deserves to be in it.”