AP Top 25 College Football Poll: Alabama Rises to No. 8, but Out of Playoffs
By RALPH D. RUSSO AP College Football Writer
Alabama is out of the College Football Playoff race, even with its victory over Ole Miss and its rise to No. 8 in the latest AP Top 25 College Football Poll.
The Crimson Tide had been No. 10 when it beat No. 11 Ole Miss on Saturday, but all that did was clinch the SEC West for No. 7 LSU, which beat Arkansas earlier Saturday to eliminate Alabama.
Without a path to the Southeastern Conference championship game, the slim chance Alabama had to reach the CFP for the eighth time in its nine-year history is now none.
No. 6 Oregon (8-2), led by former Auburn quarterback Bo Nix, also saw its playoff hopes coming crashing down in a frantic and frustrating final four minutes against No. 24 Washington, the first of two Pac-12 upsets Saturday night.
As for Alabama (8-2), the only other time the Tide missed the CFP was 2019, when a loaded Tide with Tua Tagovailoa lost to Joe Burrow and an LSU team that went on to win a national title.
The last time Alabama entered the home stretch of a season truly eliminated from the national championship race was 2010.
This edition of the Tide could still find its way into a good bowl game. Maybe the Sugar or Cotton. But Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young, who threw three touchdown passes against Ole Miss, is going to finish his Alabama career on college football’s side stage.
Saban seemed particularly happy with his team after beating the Rebels.
“They have a lot of pride in what the standard of playing (at) Alabama is,” he told reporters.
It’s fair to wonder, though, if Young, linebacker Will Anderson Jr. and some of the other Alabama stars will even play in the postseason with the first round of the next NFL draft calling.
Which brings up an interesting point to ponder as the days of the four-team College Football Playoff wane. As soon as 2024, and no later than 2026, a 12-team format could be in place.
With a 12-teamer, Alabama would still be very much in the hunt and college football could look forward to at least one more meaningful postseason for Young and Anderson.
The downside of a 12-teamer, at least for some, is the likes of Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State — both of which missed the CFP last season — would seem to be a shoe-in for the playoff every year, even making it in their “down” seasons.
AP TOP 25 COLLEGE FOOTBALL POLL (FIRST-PLACE POINTS IN PARENTHESES; SEC TEAMS IN BOLD):
1. Georgia (62)
2. Ohio State (1)
11. Penn State
13. North Carolina
14. Ole Miss
18. Notre Dame
19. Kansas State
20. Florida State
23. Coastal Carolina
24. Oklahoma State
25. Oregon State
(Copyright 2022 The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)