College Football Playoff: Alabama Earned No. 1 Ranking

The Final Four teams are set for College Football Playoff, and the Alabama Crimson Tide have earned the title of being the odds-on favorite to win it all.

The undefeated Crimson Tide (13-0) have mostly rolled through this college football season, defeating every opponent in their way, including winning the SEC Championship this past Saturday by defeating the Florida Gators, 54-16, and sealing up the No. 1 overall spot in the College Football Playoff bracket per the USA Today.

Alabama’s opponent will be the Pac-12 champion Washington Huskies, the fourth-ranked team in the playoff. The 12-win Huskies earned their spot with a 41-10 rout over Colorado in the Pac-12 Championship Game. That said, there is a big difference in the talent level of these two teams, and that will show when they meet in the College Football Playoff in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on Dec. 31.

When the season began, the Crimson Tide were the favorites to win the College Football Playoff, and through their first 13 games, they haven’t disappointed their supporters. There was a close call against LSU, which the Tide won 10-0. Then there was the first close call early in the season against Ole Miss, where the Crimson Tide won by five, 48-43. Other than those two games, no team has finished within 18 points of Alabama.

The Crimson Tide have been tested, and thus far they’ve passed every test. With results like that, it is very tough to pick against the Crimson Tide, even if given the option of Washington, the Ohio State Buckeyes, or the Clemson Tigers, who complete the field of the College Football Playoff.

The Alabama defense tackles a Florida player en route to the SEC Championship and the No. 1 ranking in the College Football Playoff.

Another aspect of Alabama that should be recognized is the play of their defense this season. En route to being selected the top seed of the College Football Playoff, the Alabama defense has allowed a college football-best 3.94 yards per play and 247.8 yards per game. Those type of numbers are unequaled this season.

In comparison to the rest of the teams in the College Football Playoff, Ohio State is fourth in defensive YPG at (282.3), followed by Clemson in ninth (313.9) and Washington 10th (316.2). John Zenor of the Associated Press writes that Washington’s offense will be the toughest test for the Alabama defense in the playoff semifinal game.

“The Huskies rank fourth nationally in scoring offense, averaging 44.5 points per game. Browning is the nation’s fifth-rated passer, and his 42 touchdowns are one shy of Jared Goff’s Pac-12 record.”

Alabama is between an 11- to 14-point favorite in the early betting lines for the College Football Playoff semifinal, while in the other playoff game, the Buckeyes are around a 3.5-point favorite over Clemson.

When it comes to being a double-digit favorite, the No. 1 overall ranking and having the best coach in college football in Nick Saban, the Crimson Tide have everything going their way in what is the defense of the national championship they won last season. Remember, Alabama has been this dominant in 2016 after losing seven players to the NFL Draft this past April.

Alabama began this season having six offensive and five defensive starters returning from the championship team, but one of their top players is still in his first season of collegiate football in freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts. The Crimson Tide have seen their freshman sensation pass for over 2,500 yards, toss 22 touchdowns, complete 65 percent of his passes, and throw just nine interceptions.

Those numbers are just one part of what makes this team what it has become this season. Alabama currently has 15 players listed as potential draft picks, according to CBS Sports, and even the top-ranked player in defensive end Jonathan Allen, who could be the No. 1 overall pick.

Having so many possible draft choices on their roster, it is no wonder the Crimson Tide are the odds-on favorite to win the College Football Playoff for a second straight year.

Alabama is the only team to be selected to play in all three of the playoffs since it began in 2014, and if Washington wants to become the team that knocks off the reigning champions, they better play the best game of their season, because that is the only way that will happen.

[Featured Image by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images]