SEC Championship final score: Alabama clinches Playoff spot, 42-13
The Tide are SEC champions for the third time under Nick Saban.
We won’t find out officially until Saturday, but Alabama has clinched a spot in the inaugural College Football Playoff. The No. 1 Tide are 12-1 and SEC champions, beating the No. 16 Missouri Tigers 42-13 at the Georgia Dome late Saturday afternoon.
Alabama took a 21-3 lead into halftime after two rushing touchdowns from T.J. Yeldon and a deep scoring bomb from Blake Sims to DeAndrew White. Star Missouri defensive end Shane Ray was ejected on the touchdown pass for targeting, hampering the Tigers’ defense for the rest of the game. Missouri was able to respond with 10 straight points to start the second half, but Alabama responded with three touchdowns to secure the win.
Now, the Tide turn their attention to the first ever playoff. We know Oregon’s in, with the Tide and Ducks almost certainly the top two seeds in the bracket. Oregon made their case with a 51-13 win over No. 7 Arizona in the Pac-12 Championship Game, and the Tide responded with a resounding win against the Tigers.
No matter where they end up in the bracket, Alabama will be playing at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on January 1. We know the selection committee will give location preference to the top teams, and New Orleans is far more practical for Tide fans than Pasadena.
What we don’t know is who Alabama will play. TCU took care of business against Iowa State earlier Saturday, with fellow contenders Florida State, Baylor and Ohio State facing must-win opportunities against top 15 teams Saturday night. If the playoff started before this weekend, the Tide would have played No. 4 Florida State. But the Seminoles could move up if they beat Georgia Tech — or fall completely out of the playoff picture with a loss. Baylor and Ohio State could find their way into a semifinal with big wins over Kansas State and Wisconsin, respectively.
No matter what else happens, Alabama is in. The Tide have won three national titles in the last five seasons, and are two wins away from another.