Despite a chaotic championship game weekend, Alabama finished fifth and was left out of the College Football Playoffs for the second time in its history. Alabama came into the weekend ranked sixth, needing chaos and their prayers to be answered. Friday, the chaos began to take shape as the number four team, USC lost to Utah in the Pac-12 Championship Game, bringing the Crimson Tide one more step closer.
Next on Alabama's wish list was a loss by TCU, and their wish was granted as the Horned Frogs lost in an overtime thriller to Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship Game on Saturday. The only thing left was for the committee to be convinced that Alabama was the better choice than TCU or Ohio State.
Immediately after Alabama's narrow pathway to the playoffs opened, Nick Saban did what he does best, recruiting, although he was selling his program to the playoff committee this time. Nick Saban made multiple television appearances Saturday night, doing his best job to make Alabama's playoff dreams come true, declaring his team as one of the best four teams in the country.
"What I would say to the committee or anyone else is, 'If we played any of these teams that are on the edge or getting in, would we be the underdog, or would we be the favorite?’" Saban said during a halftime appearance on FOX's Big Ten Championship Game telecast. "I think if you can answer that question, and the goal is to get the best teams in, then you would say they belong in there."
Saban also talked about his team playing its best ball at the end of the season while taking a shot at TCU and Ohio State in hopes of making a case to the committee on why his team deserved to be in the final four. Ohio State lost its last regular season game to Michigan 45-23, a blowout at home, while TCU lost its last game 31-28 against Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship Game.
"I think you show vulnerability when you get beat badly at the end of the season," Saban said Saturday night. "Our team has played better at the end of the season."
Despite all the campaigning by Saban, the committee saw Alabama's two losses by a combined four points on the road against #6 Tennessee and #10 LSU, both on the final plays of the game, a weaker resume than #1 Georgia, #2 Michigan, #3 TCU, and #4 Ohio State.
Instead of the College Football Playoffs, Alabama will be part of the New Year's Six Bowls and face off against the Big-12 Champion Kansas State in the Sugar Bowl on December 31.
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