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Who does Alabama lose to in 2023? How the Week 2 skid against Texas hurts the Tide’s College Football Playoff chances

Who does Alabama lose to in 2023?  How the Week 2 skid against Texas hurts the Tide’s College Football Playoff chances

For most of the 2023 season, Alabama didn’t look much like Nick Saban’s previous Alabama teams. The Crimson Tide benched QB Jalen Milroe briefly in September and saw extended offensive struggles before making a breakthrough late in the year.

Alabama finished the regular season with only three wins by 15 or more points. While a win is a win, even a Tide team that missed the College Football Playoff in 2022 has won seven games by at least 15 points. Alabama has become accustomed to dividing SEC opponents, but the playing field has looked more balanced this season.

However, entering the SEC Tournament, Alabama is still sitting on just one loss. Saban’s group has won 10 straight games, and the Tide’s playoff hopes are still alive. However, Alabama’s lone loss could pose a bigger hurdle than one might expect.

More: Details of Texas’ road to the College Football Playoff

Here’s a look at Alabama’s Week 2 loss and why it could be so meaningful before a College Football Playoff selection bid.

Who does Alabama lose to in 2023?

Alabama’s only loss this season came on September 9 at home to Texas.

The Tide narrowly escaped a scare from the Longhorns on the road at the start of last season, though they ended up missing the playoffs regardless of their losses to Tennessee and LSU. Texas came looking for revenge this year, but winning in Tuscaloosa is a near impossible task. Steve Sarkisian’s team went to Bryant-Denny Stadium and got the job done.

Texas jumped out to a 13-3 lead in the second quarter, only for Alabama to start making some big plays in the second half. A 49-yard touchdown run to Jermaine Burton gave the Tide the lead in the final minute of the third quarter.

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The Longhorns’ response was quick. A four-play 75-yard touchdown run put Texas back in front quickly, and the offense was back in action within seconds as Melroe was intercepted to start Alabama’s ensuing drive. The Longhorns scored two touchdowns 16 seconds apart to take a two-possession lead.

While the Tide was able to make it a one-score game again, Quinn Ewers silenced the crowd with a 39-yard touchdown pass to Adonai Mitchell on the Texans’ next drive. Those were the final points of the game.

DeCourcy: Where Georgia’s remarkable winning streak stands in history

Saban didn’t lose to a former assistant until 2021, when Jimbo Fisher and Texas A&M pulled off an upset over Alabama. Kirby Smart became the second former assistant to defeat the legendary coach in the College Football Playoff championship game in the same season, and Sarkisian tied the third with a road win in September.

Although Alabama appears vulnerable to a few opponents, including Texas A&M, Arkansas, Auburn and even USF, the Tide has not lost since. That may not be enough to secure a playoff berth.

How a loss to Texas hurts Alabama’s playoff chances

Conventional wisdom says Alabama should earn a spot in the playoffs by beating Georgia in the SEC Championship. The Bulldogs are ranked No. 1 by the committee, so a win on Saturday would give the Tide the most impressive win by any team this season. The SEC has also not been left out of the playoffs.

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However, a loss to Texas could be especially significant. If Alabama and Texas are both 12-1 conference champions, could there be a scenario in which only one of those two teams earns a bid? If so, the committee may find it difficult to justify choosing Alabama over Texas given Texas’ win over Alabama at Tide Stadium.

Texas’ lone loss also wasn’t particularly devastating, as Oklahoma went 10-2 and was ranked No. 12 by the committee.

Outside of the Longhorns’ win at Alabama, really great wins are hard to come by. Texas had two more seeding wins, but both came against teams ranked outside the top 20 at the time. Only one – Kansas State – It is currently being rated by the selection committee.

The Longhorns will pick up another seeding win by beating Oklahoma State in the Big 12 Championship, but beating the Cowboys doesn’t carry the same weight as beating Georgia. This raises the question of whether wins for both Alabama and Texas this weekend will be enough to shake up the seeding and move the tide ahead of the Longhorns.

More: How the SEC could miss a college football game

The wild card in the race is Oregon State, which could also be a 12-1 conference champion and entered the week ranked ahead of both Texas and Alabama.

While the nation waits to find out what the committee prioritizes when filling out college football’s final four-team field, Texas is certainly hoping an outright win carries the most weight if it comes to the two teams competing for it. in September.

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