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NCAAF · 21 days ago

Can the Alabama Crimson Tide and Oregon Ducks Make the CFP?

Grant White

Grant White

Can the Alabama Crimson Tide and Oregon Ducks Make the CFP?

God, this hurts to admit, but the college football season is quickly drawing to a close. We are through 12 weeks of action, meaning conference championships are fast approaching. We’ve already gotten a taste of what the College Football Playoff official rankings look like, but it’s time to plan for contingencies.

Knowing that nothing ever goes how it’s supposed to in college football, can the Alabama Crimson Tide or Oregon Ducks make a surprise appearance in the national semifinal?

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Bama, Baby!

A Week 2 loss to the Texas Longhorns is long forgotten, and now the Crimson Tide appear set to usurp the Longhorns in the national rankings. Alabama easily dispatched the Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday, inching them closer to the elusive playoff berth. 

Bama’s offense has unlocked its fullest potential in the latter part of the season, scoring 34 or more in three straight. Those metrics look even better when adjusted for opponent, as two of those three efforts came against the 17th-ranked Tennessee Volunteers and 14th-ranked LSU Tigers. 

Combined with their improved defensive play, Alabama looks every bit the part of a National Championship contender. 

Quack, Quack, Quack

The Ducks have plenty of tricks left up their sleeves, too. After a crushing defeat to the Washington Huskies earlier in the year, Oregon has rattled off wins in four straight.

Over that stretch, the Ducks have an average winning margin of 24.0 points, recording no fewer than 35 points each time out. Moreover, Oregon has dismantled some former contenders, running over the USC Trojans and Utah Utes. 

Conference Championship Games

Barring any catastrophic setbacks, the Ducks and Crimson Tide appear headed for their respective conference championship games. Oregon is the only one-loss team left in the Pac-12, suggesting they are destined for a re-match with the Huskies. Similarly, Bama is on a collision course with the two-time defending National Champion Georgia Bulldogs for the SEC belt.

This gives both programs the best chance of showing off their playoff pedigrees against two of the best teams in the nation.

Betting Prices

Even though Alabama wasn’t included in the top four in the CFP’s initial rankings, they concluded Week 11 with the third-highest odds to win the National Championship. At the time of press, the consensus price for Alabama is +700.

The Ducks aren’t too far behind that benchmark. Like the Crimson Tide, Oregon is on the outside of the playoff picture looking in but has better odds than the team they are chasing in the Pac-12. Heading into Week 12, the Ducks are priced at +900 to win it all.

Futures Outlook

Alabama and Oregon’s futures odds have come down week after week, signaling the improved betting market confidence in both programs. That upward trend will likely continue for the next couple of weeks until each team reaches their respective conference games. 

With an unobstructed path to championship weekend, these could be the final drops of value to extract from either program. 

That is unless something crazier happens. 

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