Bama bias is real

By Mark Nagi

At this point, I’m surprised the College Football Playoff committee doesn’t simply turn this into a five-team playoff with Alabama getting an automatic berth while playing the winner of the 2 vs 3 game.

If you haven’t been paying attention, Tennessee is ranked one spot below Alabama in the College Football Playoff rankings. This article is written before the final rankings come out on December 4, but there’s no reason to believe that order will change.

It makes no sense… except that this is Alabama, a football program given advantages that other programs simply don’t get.

Let’s look at the facts, even if the committee didn’t.

Tennessee and Alabama are both 10-2. Tennessee beat Alabama 52-49 back on October 15. In terms of common opponents, the Vols destroyed LSU 40-13 in Baton Rouge on October 8, while Alabama lost at LSU 32-21 on November 5.  Both the Vols and the Crimson Tide beat Vanderbilt easily.

Strength of schedule is in Tennessee’s column. The Vols have two wins over teams ranked in the top 20 (LSU and Alabama), while Alabama has one with Texas at 20.

The Vols’ negatives are a 25-point loss at 19th-ranked South Carolina and the fact that quarterback Hendon Hooker tore his ACL and won’t play in the bowl game.

The Crimson Tide negatives, which I’ve detailed earlier, also include needing a stop from the 2-yard line on the final play of the game to beat a lousy 5-7 Texas A&M team.

But somehow, with all this information readily available… the committee finds Alabama to be more attractive.

Was the South Carolina loss bad? Yeah! It was! But that loss doesn’t look as bad after the Gamecocks also beat Clemson the following week.

What really bothers me is how the committee apparently is penalizing Tennessee because Hooker is hurt. They are saying that because he won’t be playing, the Vols have a decreased chance of winning.

Are they right? Well, Hooker was one of the best quarterbacks in the nation, so not having him on the field is a negative for UT.

But what the committee is doing here is giving more importance to what might happen in some hypothetical game in the future, as opposed to what we’ve seen with our own eyes. You know, the fact that the Vols beat Alabama… in an actual football game… a football game that Alabama was favored to win by over nine points.

Using this logic, that means if Alabama quarterback Bryce Young were to get hurt before their bowl game, then the Crimson Tide should be demoted.

For decades, fans have decried the seemingly endless benefit of the doubt that Alabama gets from pollsters, the SEC and NCAA offices and now the College Football Playoff committee.

You look at a situation like the one that we are in now, and it’s tough to argue against it.

Bama bias is real.

There is absolutely no chance that if the roles were reversed, with Alabama beating Tennessee and everything else we have detailed, that Tennessee would be ranked ahead of Alabama.


No matter what happens in Tennessee’s bowl game, the Vols have proved that they are back in the national landscape. They snapped long-losing streaks to Florida, Alabama and LSU. They went undefeated in Neyland Stadium and energized the program and their fans at a level not seen since the early 2000s.

It’s just sad to see that the powers that be refused to do the right thing.