College Football Playoff: Who could push Alabama out of final spot?

first_imgThe AP and Coaches polls set the tone on Sunday by putting the Crimson Tide at No. 4 after they lost 46-41 to LSU in Bryant-Denny Stadium. Expect the CFP committee to proceed similarly, placing Alabama no lower than No. 5, with SEC East leader Georgia in the No. 4 position. Of course, the Crimson Tide could also be No. 4 behind the unbeaten trio of LSU, Clemson and Ohio State.MORE: How Bama’s loss to LSU affects Playoff raceThe message will be simple at that point. The CFP committee will challenge the other six Power 5 contenders (Georgia, Oregon, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Baylor and Utah) to wrest the No. 4 spot from Alabama. Can any of those teams force the committee to tell Alabama and Nick Saban “no” for the first time in the CFP era?Here is exactly what those teams face.Georgia is still in control of its destiny, but must prove it can win the SEC outright. That means going through Auburn and LSU, most likely, in the SEC championship game. The Bulldogs would not finish ahead of Alabama with another loss.Oregon has the best look at the No. 4 spot if Georgia loses. The Ducks can still win the Pac-12 with a one-loss record, but that defeat against Auburn could get entangled with the Iron Bowl, especially if Alabama dominates the Tigers in Jordan-Hare Stadium. It feels like the committee would take the conference champion here, but there are no guarantees.Utah faces the same challenge as the Ducks, but the Utes might not bypass the Crimson Tide even if they won out and beat an 11-1 Oregon in the Pac-12 championship game. That’s based off the Utes’ 30-23 at USC on Sept. 20. This might be the time for Utah to send out mass emails reminding everyone they won the 2009 Sugar Bowl.Oklahoma must win out in the Big 12 and play better defense doing it. The Sooners won’t impress the committee by holding off furious comebacks from the likes of Iowa State. Oklahoma has a brand that can match Alabama’s — but Ohio State thought the same thing in 2017.Baylor and Minnesota have undefeated records, but they also have little chance of placing ahead of the Crimson Tide if they suffer even one loss, knowing where they stand in the rankings now (Nos. 12 and 17 in the initial Playoff rankings, respectively).Penn State must beat Ohio State on Nov. 23 just to get back in this conversation, but if that happens, then the argument could come down to the Buckeyes and Crimson Tide for the No. 4 spot. Which loss would be considered “better” — LSU or Penn State? Would Alabama be favored, considering quarterback Tua Tagovailoa wasn’t 100 percent in the LSU loss? Would Chase Young still be suspended for Ohio State and, if so, would that weigh on the committee’s decision?MORE: Week 12 Playoff pictureThese are the conversations the committee will field involving that crimson elephant in the room over the next four weeks.The hypotheticals are going to play out, but at the end of the day it’s not going to be easy for one of those teams to push Alabama out of the Playoff.The rest of the conversation is predictable, with two sticking points: Would Alabama beat all those teams trying to knock them off that No. 4 perch? Probably. Does the Tide’s strength of schedule warrant that fourth spot over a Power 5 conference champion with one loss? Probably not.Everything else will be good theater. Pundits will talk down the Tide and question their credentials, just like they did in 2017. Saban will make his case — with that Emperor Palpatine-like touch — just like he did on SportsCenter minutes after the Big Ten championship game finished in 2017. Don’t be surprised if a “healthy Tagovailoa” becomes a large part of that case.In the end, the CFP committee is the one that will have the best chance to push the Crimson Tide out. Leave them in, and the call for an eight-team Playoff will grow louder than ever, even if Alabama wins it all again. Keep them out, and there will be questions about whether it’s worth it to be in the best conference in college football. The eight-team argument could be made there, too, because the Crimson Tide would be the best at-large candidate. This is becoming an offshoot of “The Process,” and by now the rest of the FBS schools have to know there’s a different set of rules that apply to this dynasty that has hung over college football.That question is a challenge.We’ll believe the answer is “no” when we see it. It’s going to take more than logic-twisting hypothetical arguments and social media warfare to settle what will be the debate the College Football Playoff committee sparks with its second set of rankings on Tuesday.The question is more of a challenge at this point: What team is going to keep Alabama out of the College Football Playoff?last_img read more

Huskies conclude regular season with 5-3 win over Slave Lake

first_imgThe Huskies opened the scoring just over two minutes into the first period off of a Wolves turnover to put the Huskies out in front. Slave Lake tied the game shortly after but it would be all Huskies in the frame from that point on. Four goals in five minutes for Fort St. John put them up 5-1. Slave lake scored once in the second and the third period to round out the scoring at 5-3.Head Coach Gary Alexander says with Slave Lake only having nine skaters for the contest, the Huskies let up on the Wolves after the got a comfortable lead.“I think we took our foot off the gas. We were working hard but there was no killer instinct out there. I thought we continued to work but not very smart. We worked when we had to and that was the difference.” he says.- Advertisement -Alexander adds that the Huskies need to be better at putting teams away come the playoffs.“This is the team we have to play so they had to set a standard of what they’re going to do. I hope that isn’t what they plan on doing the rest of the way through,” he states. “We need to bury them when we have the chance and keep on doing it so we develop good habits going through the playoffs. It’s hard to get motivated for a game that means very little out there. These guys know that they can beat this team any time they so decide. It’s just a matter of preparing themselves and finishing them off when they need to.”Scoring in order for the Huskies were Shawn Holiday, Tyson Glass, Jordan Harder, Tyson Glass, and Jeff Heber.Advertisement Shots on goal were tied at 34.The official playoff schedule from the opening round has not yet been released, but it is expected that the first round series with the Slave Lake Wolves will begin this weekend.last_img read more