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What Alabama’s loss means for the College Football Playoff

The top team in the country lost Saturday, further scrambling the playoff picture.

Alabama v Texas A&M
Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide during warm ups before playing the Texas A&M Aggies at Kyle Field on October 09, 2021 in College Station, Texas.
Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

The No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide fell to the Texas A&M Aggies in a shootout 41-38 Saturday night in Week 6, sending the college football landscape into further chaos. The top team in the land now has one loss and it opens up the door for the Crimson Tide to be left out of the field entirely.

According to DraftKings Sportsbook, Georgia is now the favorite to win the national title at +160. Alabama is second at +180, followed by Ohio State (+800), Oklahoma (+1400) and Iowa (+2000) rounding out the top five.

Undefeated Georgia, Iowa and Oklahoma are all in position to overtake Alabama when the first committee rankings do come out. The Hawkeyes will be heavily favored in the rest of their regular-season games, while the Sooners should be better offensively with Caleb Williams taking over at quarterback. Georgia has some tests upcoming with Kentucky and Florida, but won’t really be challenged until the SEC title game.

One-loss teams like Ohio State, Oregon and Notre Dame will have strong resumes as well to contend with Alabama. The Buckeyes and Ducks can still win their respective conferences, so that will factor into the committee’s decisions. And then there’s undefeated Cincinnati.

The Bearcats could easily run the table, setting a scenario where a one-loss team that doesn’t have a conference title gets left out of the playoff. If Cincinnati finishes undefeated, it’s going to be very difficult for the committee to leave the Bearcats out. It will even more difficult to do so while including a one-loss team without a conference title. Georgia and Iowa are susceptible in this scenario. Both teams could theoretically have their only loss come in the conference title game, and it would eviscerate their entire season. Or the committee could just let them in anyway and brush the Group of 5 team aside.

Alabama has no margin for error anymore. Another loss would end any chances a national title, as no two-loss team has ever made the playoff. After witnessing Clemson and Alabama in the playoff consistently, this could be the first season neither school is in the field.