Why Alabama’s playoff hopes are intact, despite loss

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(CBS) — Despite the loss at Ole Miss today, Alabama remains the projected SEC champ and a playoff participant. The Crimson Tide still have the best talent in the SEC, and has a relatively favorable schedule.

Even though Auburn and Mississippi State have played very well early, if one of them is going to take the division title, they’ll have to go through Tuscaloosa to do it. Alabama will play the Tigers and Bulldogs at home, as well as Texas A&M, while getting Arkansas, Tennessee and LSU on the road.

The road to the SEC title is particularly treacherous for Auburn, which still has road games at both Mississippi schools and Georgia to go with the one at Alabama. The Tide should still be favored every time they take the field. A 12-1 SEC championship should still get Alabama comfortably into the playoff, although perhaps not as the No. 1 seed.

That honor, such as it is, falls on Florida State, which went against the trend and failed to lose today against Wake Forest.

The Tide may still get in, but this projection does not give them a good draw. They would face UCLA on the Bruins home field at the Rose Bowl. Yes, that’s allowed.

The Sooners still have a good chance to win the Big 12, but that may not be enough to make the playoff. This projection puts OU out and moves Michigan State up — for now.

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