Sports Illustrated asked eight of its college football experts to project the most likely candidates to head to their conference championship games undefeated.
There are still 16 undefeated teams out there, and all of the experts went with teams from major conferences. Further, they all picks one of three teams.
Of the three, just one is in the SEC. It’s (of course) Alabama.
Lindsay Schnell, Joan Niesen and Colin Becht went with the Tide to head to Atlanta on Dec. 3 without a blemish.
Three of the other experts chose Clemson, while two picked Ohio State.
Ben Estes, who picked Ohio State, gave a couple reasons why he expects the Tide to slip:
“The combination of having a freshman quarterback and having to navigate the always-tough SEC means there’s a decent chance Alabama slips up,” he wrote.
Becht, on the other hand, took his Tide pick a step further, saying Bama would finish the whole season 15-0 becoming the first College Football Playoff champion to do so.
This year’s defense, which has allowed just 4.22 yards per play, is up there with Nick Saban’s best units. The offense has been a bit inconsistent but has still managed to score at least 34 points in every game, including 48 or more in three of Alabama’s five wins. If the Tide were going to lose this season, it would have happened early, while offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin was still figuring out how to best utilize true freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts and the rushing attack was adjusting to the loss of Derrick Henry. That’s why Ole Miss had the best shot. Now that the Tide survived that test, no one will stop them.
There was no mention in the article about Tennessee or Texas A&M.