NCAA Football

Suttles: Alabama lacks college football playoff ending season it deserves

Suttles: Alabama lacks college football playoff ending season it deserves

Alabama didn’t deserve to be in this year College football playoffs.

Even the most die-hard Bama fan can admit that if you take the whole season into consideration. A two-loss team, no matter how those losses occurred, is still a two-loss team, and a two-loss team has never qualified for the four-team tournament.

Crimson Tide fans know this, which is why most don’t seem too upset that No. 5 Alabama (10-2) missed the playoffs for just the second time in its existence and will instead to face No. 9 Kansas State in the Sugar Bowl. With this team, they have been riding the wave this season, going through highs and lows.

They may have lived up to their hopes USC and TCU lost on championship weekend, but they knew Alabama wasn’t a team that earned their spot. Any entry through the door would be from the back passage.

There was a sense of attachment to this team all season. Alabama fans were nervous when a field goal was needed in the final minute knock off an average Texas team in Austin. Sure, it was the second weekend of the season and the team is usually on the rise, but this game left everyone with a doubt, a pit in their stomach that never went away.

It lingered and increased with each closer-than-expected win as the season progressed. When Texas A&M had the ball on the Crimson Tide’s goal line with a chance to win on the last playit cemented what this team was: a team that rose or fell to the level of competition almost every week.

what Texas The win is arguably Alabama’s best of the season, considering the Longhorns are ranked 20th in the final CFP rating. If it ain’t Texas, it is Mississippi State or Be Miss. And that’s the bottom line of why Alabama doesn’t deserve to be in the CFP. Alabama had a tough schedule — much tougher than some of the other contenders — but didn’t have a win to hang its hat on. And if you start comparing losses, then your playoff case is out of whack with the CFP committee, which explained that it Ohio StateBest wins over Alabama.

Deserved is an interesting word, isn’t it? Especially in this case. It’s reasonable to question Ohio State’s merits, given that it once again found itself as a rival on its home court in the final game of the season. Michigan earlier Utah’s win against USC led the Buckeyes to the playoffs last weekend.

That’s why deserving is the wrong word to describe it. Alabama did not deserve this. Ohio State did not deserve this. But the Bucks put themselves in a better position with a more impressive regular season in terms of wins that mattered and one less loss. That’s what it all came down to. Alabama lost Tennessee and LDU and did not win an impressive victory that would have shaken the committee. Ohio State to beat Pension state and Mother of God losing one less game.

Alabama’s loss to LSU effectively sealed its non-playoff fate. (Stephen Lew/USA Today)

If you want to debate which team is better, as Nick Saban alluded to during his Big Ten Championship Game halftime speech, that’s a whole other discussion. I’ll venture a guess Georgia and Michigan would rather prepare for Ohio State and TCU than Alabama. The coefficients think so too.

But that is not how it is resolved. Alabama just didn’t do enough during the regular season to merit inclusion.

That hasn’t stopped some members of the media from driving themselves into a frenzy at the mere mention of Alabama in the CFP in recent days, almost talking to themselves about why the Tide doesn’t belong. It was a circular conversation. People in the media were offended that other people in the media questioned whether Alabama would participate. They were outraged that Saban, when asked about it by the media, defended his team. What did they expect him to say?

Perhaps any anger would be better directed at all of college football. Alabama and all its warts, including two losses, were good enough to make the playoffs. Is it the Crimson Tide’s fault? That the rest of college football wasn’t good enough to push a two-loss team far beyond the playoffs? This is college football’s problem, not Alabama’s.

After all, this year was a pretty obvious example of not having four championship-caliber teams. And it comes right after the announcement that the sport is going 12-team playoffs in two years.

With 12 teams, there’s excitement and a lot more money waiting for you more teams chance practice deeper into the season. These are good things. But in a year where it’s hard to call four teams great, tripling the field doesn’t seem like an exercise in quality. It’s more football, and who doesn’t want more football? Just don’t try to convince me that there are 12 championship-level teams.

With no chance to play for a championship at the moment, Alabama heads to the Sugar Bowl, once the crown jewel of postseason play in the SEC. In the era of the four-team playoff, that’s seen as an afterthought two out of every three years. The Crimson Tide will play against Big 12 State Champion Kansas, who bowled his first major under Chris Kliman. The teams have never met before.

An 11 a.m. CT start on New Year’s Eve with a possibly depleted roster? Must be electric. Saban knew this when he claimed years ago that the playoffs would slowly take the excitement out of bowls, and it turned out to be true.

He had no commitment as to which of his players would opt out or how many others log into the transfer portal before the game. But he hinted at what was to come.

“We’re going to coach the players that are there,” Saban said Sunday afternoon during a conference call to preview the Sugar Bowl. “We try to teach them to do the job as well as possible. Obviously, we have a lot of appreciation and respect for the guys who are going to finish the season with the team, and we’re going to do everything we can to help those guys, put them in a position where they have a chance to be successful. There will be some opportunities for some new guys, no doubt, but we’re looking forward to the challenge.”

In the coming hours and days, we’ll find out just how depleted Alabama is. That’s just the reality of modern college football. Alabama had plenty of chances to get another shot at a national championship game, but a string of losses and a season of inconsistent performances proved it wasn’t deserving.

There will be an early morning start against Kansas State excite someone? No. But perhaps it’s the perfect ending to a season of promise that turned into disappointment.

(Top photo: Kevin S. Cox/Getty Images)

#Suttles #Alabama #lacks #college #football #playoff #season #deserves

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