Kirk Herbstreit explains how Alabama can still make the Playoff

Kirk Herbstreit explains how Alabama can still make the Playoff

Alabama has been the most dominant team in college football for a decade and have lost just once this year, but if the College Football Playoff teams were chosen today, the Crimson Tide would not be one of the final four.

Following the 26-14 pummeling it took at Auburn last Saturday, how far might Alabama descend from its familiar home at No. 1, where it has resided for a mind-boggling 52 percent of the rankings across four years?

Alabama would still have control over its own destiny if Auburn lost to Georgia.

Another wild card in the batch would be Auburn, No. 6 last weekend, but capable of turning up just about anywhere north of that tonight.

With the top two teams of last week having lost - Alabama at Auburn, and Miami at Pittsburgh - Clemson figures to rise from No. 3 to No. 1. A Clemson loss might not save the Tide because it could leapfrog the Canes into the top four. That combined with an Ohio State win over Wisconsin would make it tough for the committee to hold out Alabama. The series was dominated by the SEC as the conference racked up nine National Championships in that time frame.

Alabama fans will be rooting hard for Ohio State to win the Big Ten championship this season because it is one of two ways Alabama can reach the playoff this season. Let's look at the Tide's likely positions and what each will mean.

Auburn is right behind the Tigers at number two. There are not enough earths in the multiverse to comprehend a world in which an undefeated Big Ten champion would not be included in a four-team College Football Playoff, no matter what you think about Wisconsin (and by the way, they're pretty good).

Alabama football needs help to make the Playoff field for the fourth straight season. Ohio State has a 15-point loss to Oklahoma and a 31-point loss to Iowa, but if it beats Wisconsin, it would be an 11-2 Big Ten champion with a win over Wisconsin, a win over No. 9 Penn State and a 45-point win over No. 16 Michigan State. Auburn (10-2), 3. Oklahoma (11-1), 4. They got a lot of flak for it past year, especially after Ohio State got crushed by Clemson. Alabama easily has the best loss compared to Miami and Ohio State. The Sooners and Buckeyes would both be 11-2 with a loss to a top-10 team and a loss to a 7-5 team. If Georgia downs Auburn in the SEC championship, would the Bulldogs jump over Alabama? Head-to-head results and conference championships come into play when resumes are relatively even, and, in that case, resumes would be relatively even. TCU would also be 11-2 with a split against the Sooners and a Big 12 championship. The Tigers won't get in over the Hurricanes, but if Wisconsin or Oklahoma loses, Clemson could be part of the conversation with Alabama and/or Ohio State. Probably Cotton Bowl for them or maybe Fiesta if Stanford wins the Pac-12. Georgia checked in at No. 6.