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Alabama’s Odds to Make CFP Fall to +250 Following Loss to LSU

John Perrotto

by John Perrotto in College Football

Updated Mar 30, 2020 · 7:32 PM PDT

Alabama Crimson Tide football entrace
After losing to LSU, Alabama must wait for chaos with +250 odds to reach the playoff. Photo by GoodFreePhotos [CCLicense]
  • Alabama’s  odds of making the College Football Playoff field rose from -250 to +250 following its first loss of the season
  • Despite losing 48-43 to LSU, the Crimson Tide is No. 4 in the latest Associated Press poll
  • Alabama made the playoffs in 2017 despite not winning its division

There has never been a College Football Playoff without Alabama, but the odds of that streak continuing are getting longer.

Alabama is now +250 to make the four-team field and -300 to miss. The Crimson Tide had been at -250 to get in prior to Saturday’s 48-43 home loss to LSU, which now has the best Four-Team Playoff odds of making the field at -800.

Is this the year Nick Saban is held without a chance at a national championship?

Four Team College Football Playoff Odds

Team Odds to Make Playoff Odds to Miss Playoff
LSU -800 +600
Clemson -600 +450
Ohio State -500 +400
Georgia +175 -210
Alabama +250 -300
Oregon +290 -350
Oklahoma +310 -370
Minnesota +600 -800
Utah +600 -800
Baylor +700 -1000

Odds taken Nov. 11

Strength of Schedule Not in Tide’s Favor

Alabama has played a weak schedule this season as the eight teams the Crimson Tide have beaten are a combined 37-45. Just two of those opponents – Southern Miss and Texas A&M, who are both 6-3 – have records above .500.

Alabama finishes the season by visiting Mississippi State (4-5) on Saturday, hosting Western Carolina (3-7) of the FCS on Nov. 23 then playing at arch-rival Auburn (7-2) on Nov. 30 in the Iron Bowl.

In all three games, Alabama figures to be the favorite, though by less than a touchdown over Auburn.


The only potential win in that span that might make any real impression on the CFP committee would be beating Auburn, ranked 11th in the AP poll. The Tigers have a championship caliber defense, but their offense led by freshman QB Bo Nix has been stuck in neutral for much of the season.

Also keep in mind that Alabama is highly unlikely to reach the SEC Championship Game. LSU (9-0, 5-0) has sole possession of first place in the SEC West over Alabama (8-1, 5-1) and holds the head-to-head tiebreaker.

The Tigers wrap up the regular season with home games against Ole Miss (4-6) and Texas A&M (6-3) sandwiched around a road game at hapless Arkansas (2-8). It seems doubtful the Bayou Bengals will lose two of those games, which would be the only way the division door would open for Alabama.

Next Set of Rankings Should Be Telling

The best barometer of Alabama’s chances of getting into the CFP will come Tuesday night when the selection committee releases its latest set of rankings.

It is instructive to note that Alabama is No. 4 in the AP poll behind three unbeaten teams in LSU, Ohio State and Clemson. If the committee follows the lead of the media members who vote in the AP poll, then the Crimson Tide will still have a reasonable shot of being in the field.

Precedent was set just two years of Alabama still getting into the CFP despite not winning its division. The Crimson Tide lost to Auburn in the regular-season finale in 2017 but still got an invitation and went on to win the national championship by beating Clemson in the semi-finals and Georgia in the championship game.

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Will history repeat itself? We will find out, but it would not be a shocker.

Alabama Would Welcome Some Help

Alabama coach Nick Saban admitted after the loss Saturday that his team no longer has control of its destiny. Indeed, how other teams fare in the next few weeks should have a bearing on the Crimson Tide’s chances.

Minnesota and Baylor join LSU, Ohio State and Clemson as the nation’s remaining unbeaten teams. The Golden Gophers knocked off unbeaten Penn State on Saturday while Baylor survived in triple overtime at TCU.

That list will be pared by at least one between now and in the end of the season as Minnesota and Ohio State are on course to meet in the Big Ten Championship Game.

It would be seemingly difficult to include Alabama in the field if there are four unbeaten conference champions standing Dec. 8 when the committee makes it selection.

Like Alabama, Georgia and Oklahoma have one loss. Unlike the Crimson Tide, both teams still control their destiny in their conferences. Same goes for Oregon and Utah, one-loss teams on course to meet for the Pac-12 title.

Recent History Could Repeat Itself

The scoreboard said Alabama lost Saturday. However, two factors could make the outcome look almost like a win in the committee’s eyes.

One is that Alabama lost by just five points after trailing 33-13 at halftime. The other is that quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was playing a little less three weeks after undergoing ankle surgery, though he was healthy enough to pass for 418 yards and four touchdowns.

If one thing was learned from 2017, it is that the Alabama brand carries plenty of clout with the selection committee. That could be the case again in 2019, which is why at least a small wager on Alabama at +250 to get into the four-team field could pay off.

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