Alabama Georgia Odds – College Football Championship

georgia-alabama-oddsNo. 4 Alabama will take on No. 2 Georgia in the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship. This is the second time in the past seven years that we’ll see an All-SEC title game.

Under Nick Saban, Alabama has made fairly regular appearances on this stage. 2018 will represent the sixth time in the last nine seasons that Saban’s Crimson Tide will play for a championship. Alabama is 4-1 in national title contests under Saban.

Georgia is in less familiar territory, because this is their first championship appearance since 1983. And they haven’t won a national title since 1980.

One more piece of history worth mentioning before we get into the game analysis is that Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart was once one of Saban’s assistants. And the latter is 11-0 all time against his former assistants. Can Kirby break the streak?

Let’s find out by covering what each team needs to do to win. But I’m first going to cover the odds from the GTBets sportsbook.

2018 College Football Championship Odds (Jan 8 at 8:10pm ET)

Alabama Georgia Point Spread
Alabama -4 (-110)
Georgia +4 (-110)

Alabama Georgia Moneyline
Alabama -185 (-110)
Georgia +165 (-110)

Over/Under
Over 44.5 (-110)
Under 44.5 (-110)

Key Factors for Georgia (12-1)

jalen-hurts-alabamaJust like Bama, the Bulldogs need strong play from their young quarterback.

Jalen Hurts, a sophomore who took over the starting job last season, has national title experience. However, he’s also thrown fewer passes and for less yardage this season.

Hurts is still a work in progress as a passer. But he makes smart decisions and threw just one interception in 13 games. Hurts also has the ability to pick up large chunks of yardage on the ground.

Calvin Ridley is the top receiver on this team. He’s caught 53 passes for 935 yards and 4 touchdowns, which is very good on a team that prefers to run.

Speaking of which, Alabama will rely on a plethora of running backs to move the ball. Damien Harris lead the team in rushing with 983 yards and 11 touchdowns, while Bo Scarbrough (573 yards, 8 TDs), Najee Harris (306 yards, 3 TDs), and Josh Jacobs (276, TD) will all get carries.

The Tide will lean heavily on their elite defensive unit. They led college football by limiting opponents to 11.1 points per game. They also held opponents to just 3.92 yards per play.

Another promising defensive stat for Alabama is that they only allow 91.8 rushing yards per game. Furthermore, they’ve given up just two rushes of 40 or more yards. That said, Georgia’s talented running backs likely won’t break any huge plays.

alabama-linebackers-injuriesAll of this is made more impressive when considering that the Tide lost so much talent to the NFL Draft in the spring. They’ve also dealt with multiple injuries to their front seven, including Dylan Moses during bowl practices and Anfernee Jennings hurting his knee in the Sugar Bowl.

Alabama has plenty of other talent across the board. Senior defensive tackle (11.5 TFL) will plug the middle, while nose guard Da’Ron Payne is also a run-stuffer. Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick is perhaps the best defensive player in the nation. He can both cover elite receivers and provide strong run-stopping support at the line of scrimmage.

The Crimson Tide have several points going in their favor. They just need to put everything together to win Saban’s fifth championship in less than a decade.

Key Factors for Alabama (12-1)

This is a tough national championship game to call, because both Georgia and Alabama have similar styles. They’re teams that like to run the football and play strong defense. On the other hand, neither of these schools are known for throwing long-field bombs all game.

jake-fromm-titleBut this is one area where the Bulldogs will try to create some separation. True freshman Jake Fromm has played very well ever since taking over for the injured Jacob Eason. Fromm has thrown for 2,383 yards, 23 touchdowns, and just five interceptions. He’s also completed 63.7 percent of his passes, and got a late TD throw against Oklahoma that sent the game into overtime.

Georgia’s game plan won’t center on Fromm’s throwing abilities. But if he can deliver like he did against Oklahoma, it’ll certainly help the Bulldogs’ chances.

But Georgia will mainly look for their talented tailbacks to take the pressure off the freshmen signal caller. Senior Nick Chubb has had an outstanding season with 1,320 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns. Fellow senior Sony Michel has also made important contributions with 1,129 rushing yards and 16 TDs.

nick-chubb-title-gameAs if these two aren’t enough, freshman D’Andre Swift has had a solid campaign with 603 yards and three scores on the ground. If anybody can break through the imposing Alabama front seven, it’s the trio of Chubb, Michel, and Swift.

The Bulldogs also bring a tough defense into this contest. They ranked fifth nationally in points allowed per game at 15.7. They also hold opponents to just 4.65 yards per play. Georgia ranks well in rushing yards allowed too, limiting opponents to 121.9 per game.

This team may not have the recent championship experience that Alabama has. But Georgia is equally deserving of being here. Their strong defense and rushing attack definitely gives them a chance to win this game.

Prediction on Alabama vs Georgia

nick-saban-alabamaThe 2018 College Football National Championship game is more like an end of the regular season rivalry game than anything. And this is perfectly all right with me, given that these two teams will make for a very competitive contest.

Alabama is a moderate favorite at -4. And this makes sense, given that they hold a slight edge in most statistical categories.

Of course, stats don’t mean everything and Georgia should give them a good run. But I have a difficult time seeing this Crimson Tide squad losing two national championships in a row. Furthermore, they simply have more experience than Georgia at this level.

Final Score Prediction: Alabama 28, Georgia 23
Alabama covers -4 spread

Georgia vs Oklahoma: 2018 CFP Odds & Predictions

baker-mayfield-oklahomaThe No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs and No. 2 Oklahoma Sooners face off in the Rose Bowl, which is a weird setting for a Big 12 and SEC team. The last time that the Rose Bowl didn’t feature either a Pac-12 or Big Ten team was 2002, when Miami destroyed then-Big 12 member Nebraska 37-14.

With all their talent, Oklahoma is unlikely to suffer a similar fate as the Cornhuskers. But can they get by the second-seeded Bulldogs to make the national title game? Let’s find out by looking at the odds from our GTBets sportsbook along with the keys for each team winning this game.

2018 College Football Playoff Odds for Rose Bowl (Jan 1 at 5:00pm ET)

Georgia vs Oklahoma Point Spread
Georgia -1 (-120)
Oklahoma +1 (+100)

Over/Under
Over 60 (-110)
Under 60 (-110)

Key Factors for Georgia

This season certainly hasn’t been easy for Georgia. Starting quarterback Jacob Eason hurt his knee in this season opener and missed a significant amount of time.

jake-fromm-georgiaFew expected the Bulldogs to be in this position, given that true freshman Jake Fromm took over the offense. However, Fromm quickly engineered a victory over Notre Dame in his first start. He’s also played pretty well throughout the entire season.

George ran out to a 9-0 start, only to have Auburn end their perfect season. The Bulldogs didn’t hang their heads, though, getting revenge on the Tigers in the SEC Championship.

This victory was especially impressive given that Georgia won in a 28-7 blowout. They were also able to end Alabama’s dominance over the conference.

The Auburn game is a perfect example of why Georgia stands a chance of beating any team in the country, including the Sooners. They outgained the Tigers 421-259 in yardage, won the rushing battle 238-114, and also forced two turnovers while giving up none.

Overall, Georgia has outgained and outrushed 12 its 13 opponents. Their defense has also held 10 teams to 14 points or less.

The Bulldogs are a complete team that’s in the College Football Playoff for a reason. They’re not going to wow you with stars and award finalists. But they can overwhelm you as a collective unit.

The big key for Georgia will be how their defense holds up against Mayfield and Oklahoma. Georgia features the fourth-best defense in the nation, and they’re ranked second nationally to Alabama in passing yards allowed her attempt (5.58 yards).

Missouri’s Drew Lock showed that it’s possible to pass on this secondary. However, J.R. Reed, Dominick Sanders and Deandre Baker will all be at the top of their game for this high-profile contest.

Key Factors for Oklahoma

Every conversation regarding Oklahoma begins with their quarterback, Baker Mayfield. The Austin, Texas native came to the Sooners as a mere walk-on. Four years later, he’s now the biggest star in college football and has a chance to lead his team to a national title.

baker-mayfield-vs-georgiaOf course, Oklahoma is about more than just one player. Their offense produced the highest scoring output in the nation at 44.9 points per game.

However, the Sooners had few believers at the beginning of the season. It wasn’t until they beat Ohio State convincingly on the road that they gained serious attention.

People would lose faith again when Oklahoma lost to Iowa State in October. But this Cyclones team has proven to be pretty good. Nobody is doubting the Sooners now, especially the way they’ve rattled off seven wins in a row.

Oklahoma capped off their strong regular season with a 17-0 victory over the TCU Horned Frogs in the Big 12 Championship. They outgained TCU 461-317, including a 218-83 rushing advantage. If Oklahoma can get this kind of ground support against Georgia, it’s likely that they move onto the CFP Championship.

Another key for the Sooners will be how their offensive line protects Mayfield. Odds are that they’ll hold up, given that they’ve done a good job of blocking for Mayfield and the running backs all season.

Prediction on Georgia vs Oklahoma

Between this game and the Sugar Bowl between Alabama and Clemson, I see this one being the least closest.

Georgia has no doubt had an excellent season, especially when considering that they lost their starting quarterback early. But it’s arguable that they’re not even the best team in the SEC, let alone the nation.

I think that the Bulldogs’ defense can slow Mayfield a bit. But the likely Heisman candidate will probably still light up the Rose Bowl.

In what’s being billed as a matchup of offense vs. defense, I like Mayfield and the Sooners’ offense by a comfortable margin.

Final Score Prediction: Oklahoma 36, Georgia 19

Alabama vs Clemson: 2018 CFP Odds & Predictions

clemson-alabama-odds-2018One of the 2018 College Football Playoff (CFP) games pits No. 1 Clemson against No. 4 Alabama. This is an intriguing matchup for two main reasons:

1) These two faced off in the title game last season.
2) These are the previous two CFP champions.

This is a difficult game to decipher. Both teams have the talent and pedigree to win it all. But then again, I can see both schools having a chance to score a blowout.

Our GTBets line has this pegged as a close matchup at -3. What should you expect when the Tigers and Crimson Tide meet on Monday? Let’s find out by looking at the odds and what each school must do to win.

2018 College Football Playoff Odds for Sugar Bowl (Jan 1 at 8:45pm ET)

Alabama vs Clemson Point Spread
Alabama -3 (-110)
Clemson +3 (-110)

Alabama vs Clemson Moneyline Odds
Alabama -152
Clemson +132

Over/Under
Over 47 (-110)
Under 47 (-110)

Key Factors for Alabama

alabama-linebackers-injuriesOne of the big stories for Alabama is the injuries they’ve had in their linebacking corp. True freshman Dylan Moses suffered a season-ending toe injury in practice recently. Moses is just the latest Tide linebacker added to an ailing list that also includes senior Shaun Dion Hamilton (kneecap), junior Christian Miller (biceps), and sophomore Terrell Lewis (elbow).

The good news is that Lewis, Miller, and sophomore Mack Wilson (foot) are recovering in time for the Sugar Bowl matchup. They can also bank on senior Rashaan Evans, who earned second-team all conference honors after tallying 10.5 tackles for a loss.

Beyond the linebackers, Alabama will welcome back star junior defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick, who hurt his hamstring against LSU in early November.

The Tide have been dominant defensively during Nick Saban’s tenure. So it’s no surprise that they’ve gotten by, even without key defensive players. Alabama’s defense should be all the stronger when they return Fitzpatrick and multiple linebackers.

Another key will be how many plays Jalen Hurts can make at quarterback. He’s been maligned this season due to his lack of passing consistency. However, if it’s also worth mentioning that Hurts doesn’t make many mistakes either (one interception in 2017).

jalen-hurts-alabamaAssuming Hurts connects on a couple of long throws, he can balance out his ability to run the football. It’s also worth mentioning that the sophomore has completed five passes of 60+ yards, which ranks second in the SEC to Missouri QB Drew Lock (8 long passes).

Hurts can also rely on big play receivers in Calvin Ridley and Henry Ruggs III. Ruggs, a true freshman, has been more involved recently and averages 25 yards per catch.

Assuming the Crimson Tide can get their offense going, then it’s very likely they’ll win this game when accounting for their strong defense.

Key Factors for Clemson

kelly-bryant-clemson-starterJust like Hurts, Clemson QB Kelly Bryant will also need to make big plays in order for the Tigers to win. Bryant is a clear step down from two-time Heisman finalist Deshaun Watson. But this is a given, considering how Watson was lighting up the NFL out before his ACL injury.

Focusing strictly on Bryant, he has the size (6’4″, 220 pounds) and running ability that you want from a good college quarterback. But he really needs to make plays with his arm against Alabama’s tough defense. Bryant is capable of making this happen, but will he deliver like Watson did against the Tide last year?

He only ranked ninth among ACC quarterbacks on throws over 10 yards. But he also has the ability to rise to the occasion, such as when he completed 23-of-29 passes for 252 yards and a touchdown against Miami.

The junior has several tailbacks that’ll help keep the pressure off and open up passing lanes. These include true freshman Travis Etienne, sophomore Tavien Feaster, and redshirt juniors Adam Choice and C.J. Fuller. Etienne and Feaster are especially important because they’re averaging a combined 6.8 yards per carry.

The biggest advantage for Clemson coming into this game is their defensive line. Outside of Ohio State, no team – even counting Alabama and its blue-chip recruits – has as talented a defensive line as the Tigers.

clemson-defenseTackles Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence both earned first-team All-ACC honors, along with defensive end Clelin Ferrell. Fellow end Austin Bryant earned second-team honors, getting beaten out by NC State standout Bradley Chubb.

This unit is very capable of stopping Alabama tailbacks Damien Harris, Bo Scarbrough, Najee Harris and Josh Jacobs at the line. They also have the potential to force Bryant into making some errant throws. That said, don’t be surprised if Clemson’s defense is the star of the show.

Prediction on Alabama vs Clemson

I really like what the Tigers bring to the table from a defense of perspective. They also have some talented running backs who can move the chains.

Bryant is also a capable playmaker when he gets enough time. However, the key here is that Bryant is no Deshaun Watson when it comes to throwing the ball.

Last year, Nick Saban’s team took Clemson to the limit in a 45-40 loss. This season, Saban doesn’t have to prepare for Watson. That, combined with the returning health of Alabama’s defense, should spell victory for the Tide.

Final Score Prediction: Alabama 31, Clemson 23

Tennessee Won’t Hire Greg Schiano – Link to Jerry Sandusky Haunts Him

greg-schiano-not-hired-tennessee-1The University of Tennessee was set to hire Greg Schiano as their next football coach. But they’ve decided to back out of the deal after seeing extreme protests and backlash from their fans.

Much of the backlash is based on a story that links Schiano to former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. Nittany Lions assistant Mike McQueary claimed that Schiano, a defensive backs coach at the time, said he’d seen Sandusky “doing something” with a boy in a shower.

The allegation was never proven, and Schiano wasn’t charged in the case. He also testified that he never knew about what Sandusky was doing with little boys. Nevertheless, the mere implication that Schiano might have known something was enough to ignite the Tennessee fan base.

The weekend was rife with Volunteer fans protesting around Neyland Stadium and engaging in anti-Schiano chants. The Knox News reports that people painted a derogatory message on a giant rock on campus.

“I feel if Schiano gets hired it will be the worst thing to happen to this university since I’ve been a fan, and I’ve been in Knoxville since 1997,” said Sean Powell, who was at the rally. Powell also said that the Sandusky ties are the biggest reason why he protested Schiano.

greg-schiano-penn-state-rape“Perception is nine-tenths reality,” said named man in attendance named Lee Chapman. “It doesn’t matter what the truth is, it’s what people think is the truth. And when you have something hanging over someone’s head like this, it’s always going to be brought up.

“He would be the highest-paid official in the state of Tennessee. Is that who we want representing our state, our community and our university? My answer to that would be no.”

Tennessee’s Protests Against Schiano are Unprecedented

greg-schiano-not-hired-tennesseeSchiano isn’t the first coaching candidate to face backlash on university grounds. But the level to which the Volunteer fans opposed his hiring is perhaps unprecedented.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anything like this,” said an unnamed athletic director. “Within the industry, there was an understanding that he’d been cleared. But now with the way the fan base has responded, who will be willing to take that job?”

Who will Coach Tennessee Now?

It’s obvious that Schiano won’t be serving as the Tennessee coach. This now leaves the question of who the university will hire in the aftermath of this not working out.

Athletic director John Currie is in a bind as the first-year athletic director. After all, he’s already been bashed by many fans and boosters for failing to fire Butch Jones faster.

If he had gone ahead and hired Schiano amid the backlash, it’s likely that his relationship would’ve become even rockier with fans. But now he faces another challenge in trying to find a qualified candidate to take the job.

tennessee-footballTennessee doesn’t have the same luster as it once did 5-10 years ago. The team hasn’t been on the national radar for years, and the Schiano protests show how merciless the Volunteer fans can be. That said, it’d be interesting to see what kind of hire they can bring in now.

The school is coming off a 4-8 season, where they failed to compete in many games. The next coach will be walking into a rebuilding situation, rather than taking over what’s traditionally been a winning program.

What does Schiano’s Future Hold?

Six years ago, Greg Schiano was one of the hottest coaching candidates in the country. He turned around a Rutgers program that had been traditionally terrible before he came onto the scene in 2001.

This landed him a lucrative job with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012. But that didn’t go over well as Schiano was just 11-21 in two seasons as the coach.

He eventually rebounded when Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer hired him as the defensive coordinator. It makes sense why the Volunteers would want to hire him based on his previous successes with Rutgers.

But one has to wonder if he can ever rise above a coordinator job in the future. He’s done a very good job with the Buckeyes, helping the team feature the No. 8 total defense in the nation this year, and the No. 3 total defense last season.

It’s not unfathomable to think that somebody else will take a chance on Schiano in the future. But it certainly can’t be a conservative SEC school like Tennessee.

Chip Kelly Hired as UCLA Coach – How Successful will He be?

chip-kelly-uclaThis past week, former Oregon Ducks coach Chip Kelly was the hottest commodity on the college coaching market. And both Florida and UCLA were trying to snag him. The 54-year-old turned down the Gators in favor of the Bruins.

UCLA fired coach Jim Mora after a 4-8 campaign. Mora had success in his first five seasons, but faltered this year.

Kelly compiled a 46-7 record at Oregon and took the Ducks to a BCS National Championship appearance in 2010. He also coached the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers, going 28-35 in four combined NFL seasons.

Kelly Brings His Genius to UCLA

While Jim Mora had solid teams in Westwood, UCLA never won the Pac-12 nor made a serious run at the College Football Playoff. This is where the Bruin faithful hope that Kelly can succeed where Mora failed.

chip-kelly-oregon-spread-offenseKelly took over a team in Oregon nine years ago that was winning 8-9 games per season. He then lifted them to the next level with an up-tempo spread offense that changed college football.

Winning 11-12 games a year with the Ducks was an impressive accomplishment, given that they don’t have the national recruiting clout as traditional college powerhouses.

“I think it was one of the most profound changes in college football that’s happened in a long time,” said Cal offensive line coach Steve Greatwood, who spent four seasons coaching under Kelly.

“Early on, people didn’t know how to handle it. Defenses couldn’t get lined up. Adding the quarterback as part of the true run game without being an option team, being a zone team but having that element of the quarterback run and being able to spread the field and utilize all 53.5 yards of the field was pretty revolutionary. We really caught the defensive world of college football off-guard.”

Kelly’s teams took opponents by surprise and revolutionized how many programs ran their offense. These days, college defensive coordinators are much better at stopping the up-tempo spread. And officials give defenses a better chance to substitute defensive players to combat the up-tempo offense.

UCLA can Do Better in Recruiting

Chip Kelly has never been a huge fan of recruiting. He doesn’t like the time it demands, nor does he enjoy smooth-talking 17-year-olds to his program.

chip-kelly-recruiting“Chip is very good at evaluating,” said Nick Aliotti, a Pac-12 Networks analyst who was Kelly’s defensive coordinator. “We spent a lot of time in evaluation. What Chip is not good at is the tweeting and the schmoozing. He can do a nice job on the home visit. That’s just his social makeup.”

Greatwood added, “He wasn’t the kind of guy who was just a bird dog on a recruit, calling a recruit all season long. I mean, you got him in front of people, he’s impressive, the way he carries himself.

“I think he didn’t like the whole process of taking a kid from early January and recruiting him all through the following February to signing date. I think that kind of took its toll on him.”

Kelly may not be the used car salesman of football recruiting, but he’s still really good at it. Case in point, he was able to sell plenty of solid recruits to Eugene. A great example of Kelly’s recruiting prowess is when he convinced running back De’Anthony Thomas to switch from USC to Oregon on signing day in 2011.

But the good news for Kelly is that he no longer has to sell elite players on coming to the Pacific Northwest. In fact, He’ll be running into four-star recruits on a regular basis in the Los Angeles area. Furthermore, he won’t need somebody like Willie Lyles, whose recruiting efforts put Oregon on probation.

Another thing worth mentioning is that Kelly does very well with California recruiting. 41 of his 93 signees came from the Golden State. It should be even easier for Chip to sell Californians on their home state.

UCLA is Attractive because Kelly can Blend In

ucla-campusChip Kelly definitely isn’t somebody who seeks celebrity status. In fact, he’s an introvert who thinks that watching film footage is the most “fun part of the job.” This is one reason why he turned down the Florida job because he’d be the biggest celebrity in Gainesville.

Westwood, on the other hand, gives Kelly a chance to blend in with the famous crowd. He’s far from the biggest name in Hollywood, which suits him just fine.

This is especially the case when considering that Kelly struggled to deal with the media in Oregon. Now, that media attention will be spread out.

Another aspect to consider is that UCLA is a on a lower rung in the LA sports hierarchy. The LA Lakers command the most attention, followed by the LA Dodgers and LA Clippers. The Bruins aren’t even the most famous college team in their city because this honor belongs to USC.

Kelly will be just fine with this since he can work under the radar. And while he does have a high profile, he won’t be bothered with the same celebrity attention as if he lived in a smaller college town.

UCLA Outlook for 2018

The problem for Kelly is that he’s walking onto a team that just finished four games below .500. This is a different situation than when he took over an already successful Oregon program.

I could easily see Kelly going 5-7 or 6-7 in his first season. After all, there’s a lot to be repaired after a 4-8 campaign.

But on the flip side, Kelly could quickly catch fire on the recruiting scene thanks to his profile. Assuming he can get some five and four-star recruits to Westwood, then things could turn around for this Bruins team in a hurry.

A 10-win season may still be out of the question. But it wouldn’t be a shock to see Kelly and the Bruins finish somewhere around 8-5 if things go well.

Auburn’s Win over Alabama Muddles CFP Picture

auburn-beats-alabamaThe No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide and No. 6 Auburn Tigers played the biggest game during rivalry weekend. And the Tigers pulled off the upset in their home stadium, winning 26-14.

This means that only two undefeated teams remain in college football, including Wisconsin and Central Florida. It also throws the College Football Playoff picture into chaos with three SEC teams still in the running.

Auburn will take on the No. 7 Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC championship game in two weeks. The winner will likely earn a spot in the CFP. The Tigers destroyed Georgia at home two weeks ago, knocking the then-No. 1 Bulldogs from the nation’s top ranking. That said, Georgia will likely have revenge on their minds come December 2.

Alabama had a chance to come back when they were down 20-14. But self-inflicted mistakes prevented them from coming back in the final quarter.

One included a snap that quarterback Jalen Hurts wasn’t expecting. The Crimson Tide had yet another unexpected snap on fourth down, but they were bailed out because the Tigers had 12 men on the field.

Another mistake occurred when Alabama was trying to convert a 4th-and-3. But receiver Robert Foster ran a 2-yard crossing route, then failed to immediately turn upfield when he caught the ball and was tackled short of a first down.

Alabama also had a situation where running back Damien Harris jumped offside when Auburn was punting. This gave the Tigers a first down and allowed them to run two more minutes off the clock late in the fourth quarter.

kerryon-johnson-vs-alabamaOne more gaffe included holder JK Scott fumbling a snap during a field goal attempt. Alabama was forced to scramble and throw a pass, which fell incomplete. This left the Tide down by six points, when they had a chance to cut the lead to 20-17.

Auburn, meanwhile, grabbed a 20-14 lead after a 69-yard run that was capped off by a Kerryon Johnson TD run. The Tigers were able to pick up yardage all night thanks to strong inside running and perimeter passing.

Johnson was the team’s MVP, rushing for 104 yards and even throwing a touchdown pass. Johnson had to leave the game in the fourth quarter with a shoulder injury. But he’d done enough to help Auburn pull off the mini-upset.

Auburn Has a Strong Chance at the CFP

College football analysts have been debating back and forth who will be the four teams selected for the CFP. A lot has still yet to be decided with conference championship games coming up. But it appears that the Tigers now control their destiny, even with two losses.

Again, they play Georgia in the SEC championship game. And given how they beat the bulldogs by 23 points last time out, they have to like their chances.

Alabama will Likely Get into CFP

nick-saban-alabama-1Alabama is in a strange position this year because they won’t be playing for the SEC title. Normally this would drastically hurt a team’s chances of making the playoffs. But Alabama still has a very good shot at getting into the mix.

They’re in a similar situation to Ohio State last year. The Buckeyes were also 11-1, but they didn’t get to play in the Big Ten Championship due to a loss at Penn State. Despite not even winning their division, Ohio State still earned one of the four CFP spots.

The Tide aren’t an automatic shoe-in at 11-1. Plus they won’t get to impress the selection committee in a conference championship game.

But it’s import to remember that the Big Ten is the only Power 5 conference with an undefeated team. The Pac 10 probably won’t get anybody into the CFP. This means that an ACC or Big 12 champion could be kept out of the playoffs if Alabama gets a nod.

Who Else Has Strong CFP Chances?

The Wisconsin Badgers finished out the regular season with a perfect 12-0 record. They’ll now face the Buckeyes in the Big Ten Championship game. A win here will put the undefeated Badgers into the CFP.

kelly-bryant-clemson-starterThe Clemson Tigers are likely to get in as well if they can beat the Miami Hurricanes in the ACC title game. Miami, meanwhile, has a tougher road because their rivalry-game loss to Pittsburgh puts them in a difficult position. Even a win over Clemson may not be enough to vault them over Alabama.

The Big 12 has a lot of questions to answer as well. Oklahoma will likely be a playoff team if they beat TCU In the conference championship game. But if the two-loss Horned Frogs win, the Big 12 probably won’t get a CFP bid.

With conference title games coming up in two weeks, the playoff picture will finally become clear. But we certainly can’t count the Tide out of the mix, even though they won’t be able to defend their SEC championship.