By Dennis Dodd
Alabama would be in. Done. Book it. All but guaranteed.
Bama would playing for a national championship. In fact, let’s cut out the BS: Alabama could be “rewarded” for losing to Auburn.
One of the little-known features of the new college football playoff in 2014 is that it’s more likely that contenders can lose late and still play for a national championship.
It’s simple math. The sample size is doubling from two to four. Not all of those necessarily would be conference champs. In fact, if the playoff were in effect this year, Alabama would be in without so much as winning its division.
Think of an Iron Bowl that would be for seeding. Same for any of the BCS conference championship games. In some ways, their value is actually diminished by a playoff. Say you’re No. 1 and lose by a point to an 11-1 team from the opposite division. You win — remaining in the top four — by losing.
That’s the potential end of any given season as we head into the playoff era. Of course, they’re not exactly screaming that fact — the builders of the CFP. Don’t call it a flaw of the new system debuting next year. It’s merely a feature of the playoff when the bracket size is doubled. The weekend’s results highlighted what could happen next year and, potentially, every year thereafter.
Using the 2014 playoff parameters regarding Alabama in 2013 …
- Alabama, a solid No. 1, lost in the final week of the regular season. In the final year of the BCS, the Tide are momentarily out of the current structure, dropping to No. 4.
But this weekend’s developments all but guarantee that Bama would be in a four-team playoff — without even winning that division.
The CFP administrators long ago decided that the top four teams — not conference champions — would fill out the bracket. The particular team in Tuscaloosa just had a…