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Alabama’s college football playoffs could turn around with Boilermaker win | Opinion
Alabama’s college football playoffs could turn around with Boilermaker win | Opinion

Thirsty Alabama fans watching the conference championship games from afar this weekend should say this to their bartender: “I’d like a Boilermaker, please.”

A drink that doubles as the Big Ten’s mascot could bring just the luck the Crimson Tide needs to make it to the College Football Playoffs.

No. 6 Alabama’s chaos-caused hopes of making the playoffs could benefit from the unranked Purdue Boilermakers’ (8-4) stunning victory over Michigan in the Big Ten Championship.

Loyal readers of this column know my opinion of Alabama’s playoff record. In short: There is no record.

We’ve seen it before: The Tide’s best win came against No. 20 Texas, which used its backup quarterback for the final three quarters. Alabama (10-2) lost to teams with a combined five losses. It didn’t play the SEC’s strongest team, No. 1 Georgia, but still finished second in the conference’s weaker division.

Alabama’s qualifications are worth a New Year’s Six bowl, not the playoffs.

If No. 4 Southern Cal (11-1) stumbles in the Pac-12 championship on Friday, No. 5 Ohio State (11-1) will, fittingly, be first in line to replace the Trojans.

As I suggested on Sunday, No. 1 Georgia (12-0), No. 2 Michigan (12-0) and No. 3 TCU (12-0) should become playoff qualifiers even with a loss in the conference championship game. Perhaps a loss of epic proportions could knock TCU out of the race, but I believe the committee will try to keep the three Power Five teams that entered conference championship weekend undefeated in the playoff field.

So, case closed, right?

Even if USC loses to Utah, Ohio State moves in and Alabama stays out, right?

Wait a second.

CFP RANKINGS WINNERS AND LOSERS: Two of the top four are safe, Ohio State is keeping its fingers crossed for Utah

“THERE IS NO WEAKNESS”: Can Purdue beat Michigan in the Big Ten title game?

WHO IS ON TOP?: Caleb Williams and CJ Stroud lead the college football QB rankings

BOWL PROJECTIONS: Southern California and Michigan make it to the College Football Playoffs

A tiny glimmer of hope may still remain following a statement by CFP Selection Committee Chairman Boo Corrigan following the release of the rankings on Tuesday.

Corrigan was asked several times if the order of the teams directly behind USC – Ohio State, Alabama and No. 7 Tennessee – was set.

“Not necessarily,” said Corrigan.

How come?

Neither OSU, Alabama nor Tennessee are playing this weekend, so under what circumstances could Alabama overtake Ohio State and make the playoffs?

So how about this:

1. Utah beats USC for the second time and knocks the Trojans out of the playoffs.

2. Purdue beats Michigan. Let’s call the final score 42-17.

3. The possible playoff field: No. 1 Georgia, No. 2 TCU, No. 3 Michigan, No. 4 Alabama.

Why would it matter if Purdue defeated Michigan?

Part of Ohio State’s stronger record over Alabama is because the Buckeyes have only one loss – to the undefeated Wolverines. OSU also has a standout win over No. 8 Penn State. As it stands, the Buckeyes should definitely be ranked ahead of Alabama.

But in the unlikely event that Purdue defeats Michigan, Ohio State’s home loss to the Wolverines will be even worse because Michigan’s position would be weakened. And a Purdue win would call into question the credibility of the Big Ten East.

Would that be enough to push Alabama past Ohio State?

Not in my opinion. The Crimson Tide still have two losses and no decisive win.

But I am not on the selection committee, and Corrigan’s words gave the committee leeway.

Three and out

1. If Georgia beats LSU in the SEC Championship, I would vote for Kirby Smart as SEC Coach of the Year. Fifteen Bulldogs were drafted from last year’s National Championship team, and yet the Georgia machine continues to be successful. That’s worthy of praise. Coaches of teams that were highly ranked in the preseason should not be excluded from the award.

2. The CFP’s top five includes Michigan (No. 2), USC (No. 4) and Ohio State (No. 5). That’s two Big Ten teams and another that will join the league in 2024. B1G stuff. Will we hear chants of “Bee-One-Gee! Bee-One-Gee!” during the playoffs?

3. Here are my top 4 SEC coach rankings for 2023: 1. Kirby Smart, 2. Nick Saban, 3. Brian Kelly, No. 4 Hugh Freeze. With one attitude, Auburn has regained its chutzpah.

Blake Toppmeyer is an SEC columnist for the USA TODAY Network. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter. @btoppmeyer.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Alabama’s College Football Playoff chance rests on Purdue and Michigan

By Aurora