Greatest Non Playoff Teams of the CFB Playoff Era

There may be no worse feeling than your team having an amazing season and getting snubbed from the College Football Playoff. Only 4 teams can make it, so some amazing teams have missed the cut due to a tough loss or two (or none). So, here we pay homage to those amazing college football teams that just barely missed the cut.

5. 2017 UCF

2017 UCF is an extremely controversial team. They finished the regular season undefeated yet were snubbed from the playoff (though they were not the first G5 team to get this treatment, with Western Michigan being another recent example). Their weaker strength of schedule was held against them. That being said, they beat Auburn in an all timer Peach Bowl, demonstrating they had what it took to beat the big dogs. How many games would they have won had they been let into the playoff?

4. 2018 Ohio State

While many may celebrate Ohio State missing the playoff, you have to admit their 2018 team had a resume worth getting in. Their only regular season loss was a stunning upset from Purdue, 49-20. Despite this bad loss, they beat up on many teams they faced with a very high strength of schedule in the competitive Big Ten East. Perhaps what makes this snub so controversial was that a non conference champion 12-1 Alabama got in over them, after losing to Georgia in the SEC championship game. As we know, that Alabama team would go on to win it all.

3. 2015 Stanford Cardinal

2015 Stanford was greatly hurt by a Week One loss to Northwestern. Their only other loss that season was to a very strong Oregon team, 38-36. While two losses is generally too many to make the playoff, this year had a generally weaker field and Stanford looked like one of the most powerful teams out there. This is less of a playoff snub and more so one of the all around best football teams that just couldn’t get it together when they needed to. At least we’ll never forget Christian McCaffrey tearing up that Rose Bowl game against Iowa.

1. (Tie) 2014 TCU and Baylor

You all knew this would be here. Both TCU and Baylor were absolute forces of nature in 2014. This marked the first ever playoff snub, as this was the first year of the College Football Playoff. Both TCU and Baylor were seen as playoff caliber, with TCU’s only being to Baylor and Baylor’s only loss being to a 2 loss WVU (who would end the regular season 7-5). This snub wasn’t just painful for these fans, but it literally reshaped CFB. The Big 12 did not have a championship game at the time, so both 1 loss Big 12 teams would be left out in favor of conference championship game winners FSU, Oregon, Ohio State and Alabama. Immediately following this, the Big 12 began putting plans in place to reinstate their championship game between the two teams with the best record.

Who do you think was the best College Football Team that didn’t make the playoff? Who was the worst CFP snub? Let us know in the replies!

The Elephant in the Room: How Alabama got ‘Big Al’

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Anyone familiar with Alabama football knows that although their athletics nickname is the “Crimson Tide,” their mascot is an elephant. There’s no clear connection between crimson and elephants, nor the “Roll Tide” shout, so how did this come to be?

History

The story starts with Wallace Wade, legendary Alabama coach (as well as a legendary Duke coach, and the namesake of their football stadium). Wade’s 1930 Alabama team was like many others he had coached; menacing and tough. They were known for their strength and blocking abilities.

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Following a hard-fought victory over Ole Miss, Everett Strupper of the Atlanta Journal used very imaginative language to describe the sheer power of the Alabama football team:

“Coach Wade started his second team that was plenty big and they went right to their knitting scoring a touchdown in the first quarter against one of the best fighting small lines that I have seen. For Ole Miss was truly battling the big boys for every inch of ground.

At the end of the quarter, the earth started to tremble, there was a distant rumble that continued to grow. Some excited fan in the stands bellowed, ‘Hold your horses, the elephants are coming,’ and out stamped this Alabama varsity.

It was the first time that I had seen it and the size of the entire eleven nearly knocked me cold, men that I had seen play last year looking like they had nearly doubled in size.”

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“Elephants” wasn’t a team nickname at the time, but it soon became one. Sports writers would refer to the Alabama linemen as the “Red Elephants.” That 1930 team would go on to have an undefeated season, one of Alabama’s claimed national championships.

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Alabama informally accepted the moniker. In the 1940’s the University actually kept a live elephant. This elephant would carry the homecoming queen every year. When keeping a live elephant became too expensive, Alabama began renting elephants for homecoming weekend.

Big Al

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Image Courtesy of rolltide.com

The first use of an elephant mascot suit was in 1960, when student Melford Espey Jr. began wearing elephant costume head to games. Espey would go on to become an administrator at the University of Alabama, and Coach Bear Bryant would ask him to don the elephant head for games.

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In 1979, Alabama’s homecoming committee decided they wanted an official mascot suit. They met with Coach Bryant, who approved the idea, and then purchased the first Big Al suit from Disney with athletic department funds. Big Al debuted at the 1980 Sugar Bowl, in which Alabama defeated Arkansas. The actual name “Big Al’ came from a student vote. Al Brown was a popular DJ on campus at the time, and thus was voted in.

Since his formal adoption, Big Al has appeared in many forms as an alternate logo for Alabama. Many incarnations of this are shown throughout this article, with the most recent form below and at the start of this article:

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Love Big Al? Hate him? Think Aubie is better? Leave your comments below, and check out our last historical branding spotlight here!