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Bye week thoughts on the CFB Playoff

The Alabama football, bye week is the perfect time to start considering how the CFB Selection Committee will rank the teams on Oct. 30.

Alabama football fans can choose to consider either of two perspectives on the CFB Playoff. One option is not to fret over it. The most recent AP Poll has the Alabama Crimson Tide as a unanimous No. 1. Win out through the SEC Championship game and the Tide is the Playoff’s No. 1 seed.

Another option, just in case the Tide does not win out, is to follow the selection process very carefully. For Alabama football fans engaged in in the second option, we have some clues.

The easiest way to track the contenders is to pick a certain number of teams. It could be just four or six or as the Bama Hammer staff does each week, the number could be eight teams. Take whatever the number of teams chosen and use the ESPN Strength of Record (SOR) calculation. For this discussion, we use the most recent Top Eight Teams ranking compiled by the Bama Hammer staff.

  1. Alabama – ESPN SOR – No. 4
  2. Clemson – ESPN SOR – No. 3
  3. Notre Dame – ESPN SOR – No. 1
  4. LSU – ESPN SOR – No. 2
  5. Michigan – ESPN SOR – No. 5
  6. Texas – ESPN SOR – No. 9
  7. Georgia – ESPN SOR – No. 8
  8. Oklahoma – ESPN SOR – No. 11

The ESPN SOR is a good measuring point. Comparing one-loss teams, for example, LSU is in a much stronger Playoff position than Oklahoma.

There are other data points closely followed by the Selection Committee. Three important ones are wins against Top 25 teams, wins against FBS winning teams and average wins for all FBS opponents.

Average wins by FBS opponents

Using the group of eight teams above, let’s look at each measurement. In average wins by FBS opponents, LSU is No. 1 with 5.1; followed by Clemson with 4.5; Michigan at 4.25; Notre Dame at 4; Oklahoma at 3.9; Georgia at 3.8; Texas at 3.6 and Alabama at 3.5. The Alabama football opponents’ record has been damaged by the two-win performances of Louisville and Arkansas.

Wins against Top 25 teams

Alabama football does better in wins against Top 25 teams. The leaders in our group of eight teams are LSU, Notre Dame and Clemson, each with two Top 25 wins. Next with one Top 25 win are Alabama and Texas. Michigan has a Top 25 win and a loss for a net zero. Georgia and Oklahoma are minus-1, each with a Top 25 loss.

Wins against winning-record FBS teams

Alabama football does well in the third calculation, wins against winning-record FBS teams. LSU leads with six wins and one loss for a net five. Michigan has a net four with five wins and a loss. Alabama and Clemson also have four wins against winning FBS teams. Notre Dame has three. Texas has a net two wins. Georgia and Oklahoma each have one net win against FBS winning teams.

The Selection Committee looks at all these numbers, including overall record, conference championships, head-to-head matchups when pertinent and eye-ball tests of teams. Keep all these numbers in mind when you see the first committee ranking on Oct. 30.

Next: The threats to continued Alabama football success

With a bye week ahead, Alabama football fans know the Crimson Tide will be No. 1 in the first committee rankings. There will be plenty of drama in the other positions, even though only the last ranking truly matters.

 

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