Alabama's leap to the top spot will be tested by Iron Bowl showdown
By CAROLINE GAZZARA
College Contributor Network
On Tuesday, Nov. 18, the College Football Playoff board came out with its new rankings.
Alabama was No. 1.
Previously, Alabama was ranked No. 5 and Miss. State was ranked No. 1, but after the 25-20 win over the Bulldogs, Alabama was sure to move up in the polls.
I read in an article posted on 'Saturday Down South' that if you beat the No. 1 team, in turn you become the No. 1 team. I don't think that's true, though. Lots of teams create upset victories everyday but they don't take over the opponent's spot in the rankings.
For instance, Baylor beat Texas Christian University 61-58 in Week 11. TCU was leading the entire game except in the final minutes. Yet, the CFP board chose to move TCU up in the rankings, to No. 4 in Week 12, instead of Baylor, who technically did win that matchup.
TCU has since managed to stay firmly in the conversation for a top-four spot while Baylor has not, coming in at a constant No. 7 for the past two weeks.
When Alabama won against Miss. State, it was expected that the Crimson Tide would move up in the polls. As a student, I was able to talk to a variety of people who have thought long and hard about this decision.
For the diehard fans out there, they believed that Alabama deserved to be No. 1. Just like the article said, if you beat the No. 1 team, then you shall become No. 1. A few of my peers questioned the College Football Ranking's worth, citing that though Alabama did win, jumping up four spots to No. 1 is a little much. It puts the target back on the Crimson Tide.
And then there are the people that think there's a conspiracy afoot. The way the playoff system works is that No. 1 will play No. 4 and No. 2 will play No. 3. If Week 13's rankings were the final rankings, Alabama would play Miss. State again, thus eliminating the chance for two SEC teams to compete in the final round; like the 2011 Alabama-LSU matchup.
Fortunately for those conspiracy fans out there, there are still three more weeks for the rankings to change.
One of the driving factors of the switch from the BCS Championship game to the CFP Championship game was because of the 2011 Alabama-LSU final. How could two SEC schools compete against each other for the title when there is only one conference being represented? When solely relying on the AP Poll to decide the top teams, it may not cause bias but it can cause inter-conference championships, which can anger people.
No matter what side of the decision you're on, it's pretty clear that the Crimson Tide is playing well enough to merit a top-four place. Personally, I'm with the crowd that likes the idea of being No. 1, but the jump was a bit too much.
Regardless, the CFP board has said that the final weeks of the regular season are strongest for Alabama, including Saturday's game against Western Carolina (which 'Bama won 48-14) and the Nov. 29 Auburn matchup. Oregon, Florida State and Miss. State each have tough schedules but not as heavy as Alabama's.
The Iron Bowl matchup this Saturday will be the biggest game of the season for both teams and may ultimately decide the College Football Playoff picture.
Caroline Gazzara is a junior at the University of Alabama majoring in Sports Journalism. Her passions are Alabama athletics and soccer. Follow her on Twitter: @CarolineGazzara