A result of their loss to the No. 1 LSU Tigers in Tuscaloosa on November 9, the No. 5 Alabama Crimson Tide will not be participating in the SEC Championship Game for the second time in the last three seasons.

Making the road even more difficult, junior quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s season-ending hip injury has left the reins to redshirt sophomore Mac Jones for Saturday’s Iron Bowl with the No. 15 Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Some national pundits think Alabama’s schedule is just too weak to justify the Tide being ranked in the top five, and Paul Finebaum had a message for those “haters” ahead of Tuesday night’s rankings.

“I’m not going to name all the names because they’re all easy to find, but when you see someone put Alabama eighth, or sixth, or seventh, they’re just hating on Alabama,” Finebaum said on his show about the pundits around the country.

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“And I know the nation will rise up and go ‘Oh, there’s Paul Finebaum, he’s a Nick Saban apologist.’ I’m not a Nick Saban apologist, I’m just speaking the truth. I’m speaking the truth based on what I see, and what I think you’ll see tonight (Tuesday).”

“If Alabama is not fifth, then I believe this Committee has sold out. In fact, I really do think you could make an argument, I’m not sure you could make a winning argument, but the real debate is whether Alabama should be fourth as opposed to sixth.”

Broadcast on ESPN, the weekly rankings unveiling show will begin at 7:00PM ET.

Set to be the 84th installment of one of college football’s greatest rivalries, Saturday’s action from Auburn will kick at 3:30PM ET as part of the SEC on CBS.