Whose #1 After Alabama’s Loss To Texas A&M?

Whose #1 After Alabama’s Loss To Texas A&M?

A funny thing happened this past weekend on the way to the College Football Playoffs, the top ranked team in the country, Alabama, fell to the upset plague that has consumed the sport this season. Their loss against Texas A&M was only part of a day that saw ranked teams get knocked off in stunning fashion or need to fight their way back from historic deficits in order to win. So, the question is simple: Who is the #1 team in College Football now?

You rarely see the phrase “UPSET ALERT” and the word Alabama trending together on a Saturday afternoon, yet that’s what college football fan saw with the Crimson Tide visiting Texas A&M. The Aggies did not get swept away by the Tide’s early tendency to score early and often in games, forcing their opponents to play from behind. In fact, Texas A&M was ahead 17-7 after one quarter and up 24-10 at the half, setting social media on fire. The game tightened up with Nick Saban’s squad posting two third quarter TDs, but the Crimson Tide’s defense yielded 17 second half points, too many for Alabama to overcome despite scoring four TDs the game’s final two quarters.

The loss, along with #2 Georgia’s 34-10 win at #10 Auburn clears the way for a different SEC team to hold the top spot in the rankings this week, which, as we have seen so far this year, means nothing when it comes to figuring out which teams are better than others.

The third and fourth ranked teams from the Big Ten squared off as Penn State paid a visit to Iowa. It was the traveling Nittany Lions who were favored and even ahead early; but it was the Hawkeyes who prevailed 23-20 with ten unanswered points in the fourth quarter to knock off Penn State in dramatic fashion.

Drama was also on the menu in Texas where the #21 ranked Longhorns hosted #6 ranked Oklahoma in a Big 12 showdown, with early signs pointing to another upset. Texas jumped out to a 28-7 lead in the first quarter and led 38-20 at the half. The Longhorns might have relaxed a little bit too much in the locker room, but the rumbles of a comeback were on display in the third with the Sooners closing the quarter down 41-30. Oklahoma completed the 21-point comeback by posting 25 fourth quarter points to steal the road win and send Texas fans reeling and social media into a frenzy as the Sooners continue to keep their playoff hopes alive.

The 2021 College Football seasons continues to be the perfect example of why the sport CANNOT expand the playoffs past eight teams. Because if it does, watching who is winning and losing in the Top Ten becomes unimportant until a team falls into the Top 20. There are too many in-season playoff games now that would become less meaningful if both schools put on a great game, one losing by a few points, and neither falling too far down in the rankings.

Now, when Iowa knocks off Penn State and Oklahoma comes back at Texas, it still means something. Sure, Alabama only needs to win their conference title game to likely ensure their place in the postseason; but is that trip to the title game and their victory as much of a lock this week as it was last week?

The fact of the matter it this: It doesn’t matter who the top ranked team in the country is from August to November, it only matters who plays well enough to reach the postseason, and who does well enough to win in the only two games of the bowl season that matters. That’s why in-season polls are for entertainment purposes only and preseason polls should be banned since they are clearly based upon opinions and perceptions that are wrong as often as they are right.

I still believe, even after their loss, that Alabama can beat anyone in the nation on a neutral field and losing a conference road game by three points is not enough to scare me off of the Crimson Tide this season. But people who vote in college football like to keep things simple, which means a loss equals a drop in your ranking.

Perhaps if the committees’ bosses felt that way about their own preseason poll votes, they would stop littering social media with them every summer. Perhaps, too, the time has come for the committee to tell us who they think is number one so everyone knows where college football stands as we enter the second half of October. That way we will know who still has a path to the playoffs and who doesn’t this season. It will remind everyone that with a smaller playoff field, more people talk about your sport during the season, and when you expand your postseason, you diminish your regular season, which this year would be a crime for college football. 


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Whose #1 After Alabama’s Loss To Texas A&M? | TooAthletic.com

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