On the beat: Watch out if Alabama gets second chance

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — For the University of Alabama football team, there’s nothing it can do but watch and wait.

At least the latter won’t go on for much longer, and only after a whole lot of the former beginning with the Pac-12 Championship Game on Friday night. That’s when the first of the remaining contenders for the College Football Playoff will make their case for inclusion into the 4-team field, followed by everyone else except the Crimson Tide.

Ranked fifth by the College Football Playoff selection committee, Alabama needs help and no one knows how much. But should it get the help, the Crimson Tide have as good of a chance as anyone to win the national championship.

Not only is it that wide open this year, but we’ve seen it before from Nick Saban.

The biggest second chance, of course, was in 2011, the title game that many believe killed the BCS.

After Alabama lost the No. 1 vs. No. 2 regular-season showdown against LSU, 9-6, in overtime, the Crimson Tide only dropped to No. 3 in the BCS standings. No. 2 Oklahoma State was 10-0 and cruising along when it tripped at Iowa State, 37-31 in double overtime.

Alabama was back in, and despite not playing for its own conference title won the rematch in New Orleans, 21-0.

A year later, No. 1 Alabama was 9-0 when it lost the Johnny Manziel game to Texas A&M, 29-24. It dropped to No. 4 and needed two of the three teams ahead of it — 1. Kansas State, 2. Oregon and 3. Notre Dame — to lose over the final two weeks or in a conference championship.

Just seven days later everything fell into place. The Wildcats lost at Baylor, 52-34, and Stanford upset the Ducks, 17-14 in overtime.

Alabama went on to crush Notre Dame in the title game, 42-14.

If we’ve learned anything about Alabama’s title chases under Saban, it’s that his teams are more dangerous when not No. 1. For example, in 2015, the Crimson Tide didn’t achieve that distinction until knocking off Clemson in the title game.

Vegas knows this as well, which in part is why Alabama is listed among the favorites to win the national title (per Bovada):

  • Oklahoma         4/1
  • Alabama           17/4
  • Auburn             17/4
  • Clemson           17/4
  • Georgia            7/1
  • Ohio State        7/1
  • Wisconsin         9/1
  • Miami               16/1
  • TCU                 100/1
  • USC                 100/1
  • UCF                 200/1

It’s going to be a long weekend, with ups and downs, and Crimson Tide fans a little uncertain who to root for and against (tonight, Alabama needs to cheer for Stanford and against USC, just in case).

The general rule is the more chaos the better. However, if they can get past the idea of Auburn winning the SEC title a possible rematch in Atlanta almost sounds like something out of a movie.

Regardless, no one should count out Saban and the Crimson Tide until either the committee says so on Sunday or Rule 2 of “Zombieland” applies, it gets the double tap (i.e. a second loss).

The post On the beat: Watch out if Alabama gets second chance appeared first on SEC Country.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism.
AJC.com. Atlanta. News. Now.

Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism.
AJC.com. Atlanta. News. Now.