Could it be possible? Will Alabama actually miss the College Football Playoffs this season? It certainly seems quite likely, as the Crimson Tide already has two losses. They fell for the second time in three weeks when LSU pulled out a 32-31 overtime victory last Saturday.
Coming on the heels of their 52-49 defeat at Tennessee October 15, the Crimson Tide is in unusual territory. Nick Saban’s team ranks 9th in the CFP poll and it is on the outside looking in. While the Tide is not out of the mix yet, Alabama clearly needs help to have a chance to play for the title.
The Crimson Tide was the top-ranked team in the nation at the start of the season, but it seems fairly clear that their defense has let them down to this point. They were unable to contain the Volunteers in that loss, and LSU’s offense was able to execute when the game was on the line.
Clearly there can be no slip-ups from this point forward, but Saban has no guarantees that his defense will get better.
Alabama needs quarterback Bryce Young and his offensive teammates to pick it up even more if the defense does not improve. Young has thrown for 2,234 yards while completing 62.9 percent of his passes along with a 19-4 TD-interception ratio. Wide receiver Ja’Corey Brooks has caught 28 passes for 473 yards and 5 TDs, and Saban needs a bit more from him.
Alabama is not the only overrated team in the nation. Here’s a look at 3 others.
Ohio State may be No. 2, but there are weaknesses
Ohio State is poised for a spot in the playoffs after reeling off wins in their first nine games, but that doesn’t mean the Buckeyes are perfect. There is a chance they could get exposed when they face Michigan in the final regular-season game.
The Buckeyes saw their long winning streak against the Wolverines come to an end in 2021, and that was largely because they were unable to contain Michigan’s physical style. Michigan used its aggressive offensive line to push the Ohio State front seven backwards, and the Wolverines established a winning ground game.
The same thing could happen again this year. Ohio State has not faced any team as physical as the Wolverines to this point, and Michigan has not slipped in that area. Running back Blake Corum has shown he can run against anybody, the Buckeyes are sure to get his best effort.
Ohio State was pushed to the limit by lowly Northwestern in their 21-7 victory November 5. While the excessively windy conditions kept quarterback C.J. Stroud from establishing his passing game, the Buckeyes should have been able to dominate on both sides of the ball for four quarters. Ohio State did not score until late in the second quarter, and head coach Ryan Day wore a worried expression until the late stages of the final quarter.
If Northwestern can slow down Ohio State, the Buckeyes may just be overrated.
TCU could be facing a major storm against Texas
The Horned Frogs are the No. 4 team in the nation and if the season ended today, they would qualify for the playoffs along with Georgia, Ohio State and Michigan.
But the regular season won’t end for three more weeks and a Big 12 championship game is likely to follow. TCU has a 9-0 record to this point in the season, but the Horned Frogs play at Texas Saturday and they are 7.5 point underdogs to the Longhorns.
A look at the TCU season reveals that head coach Sonny Dykes’ team has played at peak efficiency, but they don’t blow out quality opponents. Their last five games have all been victories by 10 points or less and that bubble could burst quickly.
Linebacker Dee Winters is a formidable athlete with 6.5 sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss, but the defense has a difficult time containing opponents. Running back Kendre Miller is a dynamic force with 1,009 yards and a 6.6 yards per carry mark to go along with 12 touchdowns, but it seems like TCU could be in over its head against Texas this week.
If that happens, upcoming games against Baylor and Iowa State could turn into additional traps.
UCLA is on a roll, but it will likely come to an end
The Bruins rank 12th in the CFP poll with an 8-1 record, but they were exposed in a 45-30 loss to Oregon last month.
Whenever the Bruins put together explosive offensive seasons, it seems their defense has a hard time keeping up. UCLA’s defense will likely face another difficult assignment in the annual showdown with crosstown rival USC. The Trojans may have too much skill and speed for the Bruins to keep up.
UCLA has allowed 5 of its last 7 opponents to score 30 or more points, and that just puts too much pressure on quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson. While the brilliant passer has thrown for 2,140 yards with 19 touchdowns and just 4 interceptions, the Bruins simply can’t engage elite opponents in shootouts.
Head coach Chip Kelly wants a dynamic offensive team and he has it, but the defense is not good enough and that’s why UCLA, like Alabama, Ohio State and TCU, are overrated.