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Jumbo Package: To Playoff, or Not to Playoff?

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That is the question.

NCAA Football: Alabama at Auburn John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Monday, everyone. For the first time all season, the Tide start the week on the outside looking in at the College Football Playoff. While it may not be fun, we might as well open up with the Iron Bowl aftermath.

This picture is evidence of Auburn fans destroying their own vegetation. It’s understood that it wouldn’t be Auburn without rampant hypocrisy, but I don’t want to hear any more about those damn trees. We probably will hear a little something about Tony Brown shoving a field-storming Auburn fan, however. Tony just can’t seem to keep his emotions in check. Say what you will about fans storming the field to begin with, but this is inexcusable behavior from a guy who has managed to spend a good portion of his five years in Saban’s doghouse.

On the field, it’s not hard to figure out what went wrong in this one.

Auburn was 9 of 18 with drives hanging in the balance.

Alabama went 3 of 11.

That helped push Auburn to 78 total offensive snaps to Alabama's 61. Time of possession was a 36-to-24 advantage to Auburn -- the third straight game Alabama's defense spent considerably more time on the field than the offense.

Only one true outside linebacker has recorded a sack for the Tide. As a result, Pruitt has turned to defensive backs to moonlight as pass rushers.

Against Auburn, the Tide attempted to turn up the pressure on quarterback Jarrett Stidham, and the plan backfired.

The Tigers' quarterback was sacked only once.

He also found a way to beat the blitz.

That’s about it in a nutshell. It’s a referendum on the modern game that the team that better ran the ball and stopped the run lost the game by two scores to the team that better passed the ball and stopped the pass. There is a bit of hyperbole in that second excerpt in that Rashaan Evans becomes a “true” OLB when he moves out there in dime, but the point is valid. Alabama was already having to replace three elite pass rushers this season, then lost the two most capable replacements to injury. Hopefully the month off will give those guys time to get fully healthy.

Now all we need to know is what kind of game they will be getting healthy for.

I’ll try not to bore you with too many of the details, but a few things jumped out to me: Alabama’s lack of efficiency on third downs both offensively and defensively, missed tackles and poor coverage on defense, Alabama’s struggles in the passing game (Jalen Hurts, offensive line, receivers, play-calling share the blame), Alabama completely forgetting it had a stable of running backs (Damien Harris, Bo Scarbrough, Josh Jacobs combined for 18 carries) and Auburn’s ability to control both lines of scrimmage.

Alabama still has a chance at the playoff, though. The Crimson Tide will be the top one-loss team out of the playoff projection above. It will be interesting to see what the committee does with the Tide this week. However, being the top one-loss team does not mean that Alabama could not be jumped by a two-loss team.

Palm is assuming that Wisconsin and Oklahoma win their respective conferences, in which case he has Alabama playing Miami in the Orange Bowl. That would be a bloodbath, as would most any of the other potential matchups. While we’d prefer a playoff berth, finishing #3 with 12 wins and a comfortable New Year’s blowout wouldn’t be the end of the world, either. This team has a lot of players who are set to return, and they should be playing with something to prove.

The worst part of all of this? We really need to root for Auburn to win so that Alabama’s loss is against a playoff team, in addition to rooting for Ohio State. I feel so dirty.

Some folks in Vegas clearly believe that the Tide are likely to be in the playoff:

Alabama remains one of the favorites to win the national championship, despite the Crimson Tide's loss to Auburn on Saturday.

Alabama, Clemson and Oklahoma are co-favorites at 4-1 in updated national title odds at the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas. Auburn is 9-2, followed by Ohio State and Georgia, each at 7-1.

Hope for the best, amirite?

Good news on John Petty’s injury:

University of Alabama shooting guard John Petty will be “a game-time decision” for the Crimson Tide in its Wednesday night game against Louisiana Tech after results from an MRI, The News has learned.

Petty injured his right ankle in the latter stages of Alabama’s wild 89-84 loss to Minnesota at the Barclay’s Classic in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Saturday and was forced to leave the game. However, an MRI on Sunday indicated a sprain but no broken bones or ligament damage.

Petty landed on a defender’s foot and turned his ankle. Needless to say, they shouldn’t take any chances with him against Louisiana Tech.

By the way, I know you have heard about the Tide finishing the game with only three players, but if you haven’t watched it, you should. Video is below. If you’re a poor fan and don’t want to watch the full game, fast forward to about 1:25. You’ll see Minnesota’s players generally behaving like asshats, from PG Nate Mason getting tossed for walking over to Alabama’s bench to jaw immediately after getting a technical, to the entire Minnesota bench taunting and celebrating when Alabama’s players got ejected for leaving the bench to pull their own guys away from fighting, then further celebrating when Dazon Ingram fouled out to take the Tide down to four players. To top it all off, head coach Richard Pitino apparently condoned all of it.

Guess the apple doesn’t fall far, eh?

In any event, watch Sexton down the stretch if you haven’t. I implore you. There is literally no limit to what this team can accomplish if the kid is allowed to do his thing.

In NFL news, Coop put a guy on skates yesterday:

We’ve seen that movie before.

That’s about it for today. Have a great week.

Roll Tide.