Alabama Debuts at No. 2 in the First Playoff Rankings
The college football playoff committee released the first rankings Tuesday evening. To no surprise, the Georgia Bulldogs came in as the top dogs, but where did the selection committee place the Crimson Tide?
Alabama came in at the No. 2 spot, Michigan State at No. 3, and Oregon at No. 4. The undefeated Cincinnati Bearcats fell to No. 6 right behind Ohio State after ranking the second-best team in the AP Poll.
After struggling for most of the season, the Oklahoma Sooners made their debut at No. 8. If the Sooners want to climb into the top four, Lincoln Riley needs his team to play complete games the rest of the season. Wake Forest climbed into the top 10, while a preseason national championship favorite Clemson is unranked as the Tigers struggle to find an offense. The SEC had seven in the top 25, including Mississippi State at No. 17 and Auburn at 13.
Alabama and Georgia are both the top two teams in offensive efficiency and strength of schedule. With Kentucky's loss to Mississippi State, the Bulldogs locked their spot in the SEC title game. The Crimson Tide has to win out, including the SEC Championship game, to have a chance to defend their title.
Alabama has a tough test the rest of the season. The Tide has three more home games with LSU, New Mexico State and Arkansas before traveling to Jordan-Hare Stadium for the Iron Bowl. The Tide has lost the last three of four at Auburn, with the 2017 loss sending the Tigers to the SEC Championship.
The Tide has shown its vulnerability on the road at Gainesville and College Station, raising concern for fans. However, Alabama has played more motivated since the A&M loss, including holding a Mike Leach offense to under 500 yards of offense and holding the conference's best rushing team to only 64 yards.
If Alabama wants to defend its title, the Tide has to win out; however, there is plenty of time left with many big games still to play. There will be five more rankings before the final rankings are announced on Sunday, Dec. 5.