College Football Playoff predictions: TCU belongs in the top four over Alabama


With Auburn dropping to Texas A&M in an awful loss, another spot opens up in the final four of the College Football Playoff. Oregon is expected to jump to third, but who should grab number four?

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Here’s our prediction for what the top four will look like when the CFP poll is released:

  1. Mississippi State
  2. Florida State
  3. Oregon
  4. Alabama

While we expect Alabama to get the knod over TCU, it’s not right. The Horned Frogs are the better team as of now after waxing Kansas State in convincing fashion. It’s their sixth victory by three touchdowns or more.

Comparing statistics, the Crimson Tide only hold the advantage in three categories: Better defense, 3rd down conversion percentage, and penalties against. One thing that negates the defense angle is Alabama’s opponents. The Big 12 is notorious for their offenses and TCU has played all the best offenses in the conference — up next is just Kansas, Iowa State, and Texas. The Crimson Tide still has to go through Mississippi State and Auburn, who are the higher rated offenses in the SEC.

Nov 8, 2014; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban celebrates after an overtime win against the LSU Tigers in a game at Tiger Stadium. Alabama defeated LSU 20-13. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Give credit to Alabama for winning three out of their last four games on the road and killing Texas A&M at home 59-0, but those road games were not impressive — especially the horrible 14-13 Arkansas game, which if the Razorbacks could assemble one drive, would have beaten this team.

Want to compare schedules? Beating West Virginia is about a wash as they both looked just as good against them. TCU lost to Baylor on the road but crushed Kansas State. The equivalent for Alabama is losing to Ole Miss on the road and beating LSU. Crimson Tide crushed the Aggies? TCU crushed Texas Tech, and the Aggies and Red Raiders are similar on defense. Putting it all together, which opponents overall are better in your mind?

TCU averages nearly two touchdowns more on offense than Alabama. TCU has faced only two teams with losing records (SMU, Texas Tech), Alabama has faced four teams with a losing record. TCU has a turnover margin of +16, Alabama has -2. TCU is 16 for 20 in field goals, Alabama is 11 for 16 in field goals.

In the future, the Crimson Tide can prove they’re better than the Horned Frogs. Get a win against Mississippi State and Auburn (despite the crap that they’re still in the top 10, but I digress) at home? All TCU can show is a win over Texas on the road. Advantage is to Alabama, but they have to prove it. Until then, TCU should grab the fourth spot.