Assessing threat each Alabama opponent poses to playoff streak
Alabama Football 2016 – G09 at LSU
Assessing threat each Alabama foe poses to playoff run
Three years into the playoff era, Alabama remains the only program to make all three versions. Sustaining that streak will face a few more hurdles again this fall in Nick Saban’s 11th Crimson Tide season.
To handicap the chances of another playoff run, we’ll assess the threat each of Alabama’s 12 regular-season opponents pose. It’s important to note this is not necessarily the threat for the Tide to simply lose, but rather how it would impact the postseason dynamic.
By Michael Casagrande, AL.com
DON’T STOP NOW Improving Florida State is hoping a bye week doesn’t slow its momentum
Sept. 2: Florida State
The Seminoles are arguably the best team Alabama will face all season. This season-opener in Atlanta could very well be a No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown riding the hype train all the way into the Georgia Dome’s flashy offspring. A star returning quarterback in Deondre Francois and All-American-caliber safety Derwin James offer a taste of the talent level Alabama will face Labor Day weekend. A loss here would certainly change the road map for the next 11 or 12 games, but wouldn’t disqualify either team. Because of that, it isn’t the most dangerous game on the schedule even if the opponent is superior to those remaining.
Threat level: 8
San Diego State at Fresno State
Sept. 9: Fresno State
The home opener offers a chance to dial things back a little. The Mountain West school is coming off a 1-11 season and a coaching change that brought Jeff Tedford (Cal’s coach from 2002-12) to his alma mater. This would have been a solid tune-up for FSU, but will settle for a Week 2 opportunity to play some young talent.
Threat level: 2
Alabama Football vs Colorado State 2013
Sept. 16: Colorado State
The Rams are certainly a step up from Fresno State. They just don’t present a danger to the playoff streak. Consecutive 7-6 seasons followed a 10-3 year in Jim McElwain’s final season in 2014. One or both of the teams scored 40-plus in the final four games of last season. That includes a 61-50 loss to Idaho in the bowl game. That score isn’t likely in Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Threat level: 3
No. 1 Alabama (7-0, 4-0; AP: 1) No. 2 Texas A&M (6-0, 4-0; AP: 6) No. 3 Florida (5-1, 3-1; AP: 15) No. 4 Arkansas (5-2, 1-2; AP: 17) No. 5 Tennessee (5-2, 2-2; AP: 18) No. 6 Auburn (4-2, 2-1; AP: 21) No. 7 Ole Miss (3-3, 1-2; AP: 23) No. 8 LSU (4-2
Sept. 23: at Vanderbilt
A surprising bowl season in 2016 included upsets of both Georgia and Tennessee. The Commodores had the No. 6 total defense in the SEC after rough seasons of 3-9 and 4-8 in Derek Mason’s first two seasons. The problem is All-American linebacker Zach Cunningham is gone. Vanderbilt won’t be the seventh best team in the SEC East since Missouri is there and it won’t have much of a shot of upsetting the Tide in its trip to Nashville. Extra ½ point on the treat meter since it’s technically Alabama’s first true road game.
Threat level: 3.5
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Published at Fri, 07 Jul 2017 11:53:42 +0000