Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel, and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde discuss the College Football Playoff Committee’s first rankings that were revealed on Tuesday, and debate if Alabama could still have a path even if they were to lose to Georgia. They also discuss Auburn and Wake Forest’s chances of a Playoff berth.
PETE THAMEL: So let's jump around here, Pat and Frank, because I think it's pretty interesting. There's one thing I really disagree with Kirk Herbstreit about. He basically said if Alabama loses to Georgia in the SEC title game we assume happens, although I'm certainly not going to close Auburn out of the SEC West race.
But if Alabama loses to Georgia in Atlanta and it's a close game, could Alabama end up ranked in the top four? Now I had said very early on that we needed to at least leave a window open, a door ajar for a 2-loss Alabama to end up this. Now Alabama getting wedged in at two, which I think was too high, certainly I think creases that door open a little bit more. Pat, do you think 2-loss loss Bama is a thing?
PAT FORDE: Yeah. No. I said that, what I wrote for Sports Illustrated in our reactions to it that Alabama now has a puncher's chance to be the first 2-loss loss team to get in. Because starting there, and if you win out, and then you will have beaten Auburn, you will have added a quality win over Auburn to wins over Mississippi and Mississippi State, who clearly the committee likes. Your loss will be to Texas A&M.
And while that's not as good a loss as some other teams have, they're willing to clearly excuse that. I mean, I thought they were too high at number two. But now sure, if you get into the game against mighty Georgia, which is undefeated. And you do what Alabama has done to Georgia, which is drive them crazy.
And you lose the game on a field goal, and you're sitting there at 11 and 2, yeah, I think that there's going to be some people that will have some sentiment for Alabama to stay in there. Because if they stay one, two the whole time, especially if there's churn underneath them, I think, yeah, there's a chance that that happens.
PETE THAMEL: And I really think that when we look at Bama and the finishing kick they have right now, they're obviously essentially tied for the SEC lead with Auburn right now. They're both at one loss. Auburn only has three league wins. Alabama, going to Auburn, who could be ranked as high as like eighth at that point, so you've got road top 10, a potential top 10 road game to end the season.
All of a sudden, they could be number two with a bullet. I just think that, credit Auburn, right? There only lost out of league came obviously at Penn State in a heck of a college football game, right? And they've won at Tiger Stadium ending Edwards Orgeron's tenure essentially. And their only league loss is to Georgia. And Georgia went to Auburn and thumped them.
But like all of a sudden, Auburn could really be shaping up to be some sort of factor, some sort of saboteur, or some sort of enabler in this whole system. I give Brian Harsin credit. I don't think when we saw Auburn in glimpses early this season, we thought we'd be discussing them as someone who could be factoring into the title race.
PAT FORDE: Yeah, look if Auburn if you close the season by beating Alabama and then beating Georgia in Atlanta, that's pretty strong. And you end up at 11 and 2 you might have the same puncher's chance that Alabama would at 11 and 2. But it's a lot harder doing it from 13th than from doing it in second.
Here's the question for you, Pete. Wake Forest, any path for the Demon Deacons that you see at this point?
PETE THAMEL: They play as many ranked teams remaining I believe as Cincinnati does. So I think this is a great moment for Dave Clawson and the Deacs and they should celebrate their status. But, I just don't see-- I don't see a way for them. Obviously Pitt is ranked right? So they could end up playing Pitt in the ACC title game. NC State is ranked, right, Pat?
PAT FORDE: Yes. Yes.
PETE THAMEL: They snuck in there so there. Are some opportunities for incremental Deacon nudges. But I was most curious actually where Oklahoma and Wake Forest would be outside of Cincinnati, right? Because they're undefeated power five teams who have decent wins. But not bad. I actually think you could make a pretty good argument that Wake Forest should have been ahead of Oklahoma in a lot of ways.
PAT FORDE: Yeah, yeah. at least they've had some-- they've been impressive on occasion, you know?
PETE THAMEL: Correct, they have been impressive on occasion. That is a good way to put it.