Tua’s Injury And What it Means For Alabama and CFP

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Tua Tagovalioa’s health has been an issue for Alabama since the tail end of the 2018-2019 season. Between ankle injuries, knee injuries, and just taking hard shots on a weekly basis, Tua has not been at full strength since his freshman year. As #5 ranked, the Alabama Crimson Tide took on Mississippi State on Saturday, Tua came into the game with a banged up ankle, only to leave in the second quarter with a dislocated hip. Alabama won the game easily 38-7, but their season is all but over after Tua is out for the remainder of the year. 

Alabama’s star quarterback had successful surgery early on Monday and he is expected to make a full recovery. While that is great news for the health of the Hawaiian native, there are numerous questions now about Alabama’s playoff hopes, and Tua’s future. 

Playoff Dynamic

While Alabama covered an 18-point spread with ease against Mississippi State, it is unlikely they remain at #5 in the country with Tua’s injury. ‘Bama just isn’t the same ‘Bama team with Mac Jones under center. Having already lost to LSU, and missing out on the SEC championship game, it is now extremely unlikely Alabama can do enough to get into the College Football Playoff with Tua missing, even if they beat Auburn next weekend. 

What that means is the door is now open for the likes of Oregon, Utah and Oklahoma to sneak into that fourth and final spot currently occupied by Georgia. If Georgia beats LSU in the SEC Championship, we expect the Top 4 to be as it currently is (LSU, OSU, Clemson, Georgia). If Georgia falls however, one of the aforementioned teams will sneak in. We’ll see what the committee has to say after Oklahoma’s comeback win against undefeated Baylor on the road. If Oklahoma wins out and Oregon wins out, we expect the Sooners to get the nod with the Big-12 being a far stronger conference this year than the Pac-12. Jalen Hurts may be playing for a national title after all, while his former team settles for a second tier bowl game. 

What’s Next For Tua

Tua’s history of injuries cannot be promising for his draft stock although he is still considered to be one of the top quarterback prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft. Because he holds on to the ball extremely long, has a long throwing motion and has had injuries that have piled up, Tua looks more like a college quarterback rather than a pro.

Given his history of injuries, it is likely he will declare for the draft and forego his senior season at Alabama. Tua has a chance to be one of the great college quarterbacks of all time if he comes back to Tuscaloosa, but the NFL money is just too much to pass up given the risk he takes suiting up under center each week. 

Final Notes

Minnesota’s loss to Iowa on Saturday as well as Baylor’s loss to Oklahoma killed off the final two undefeated dark horses that had a shot at the CFP. The lone bid for the Big-10 now will go to Ohio State who would have to lose their final two games in disastrous fashion, against formidable opponents in Penn State and Michigan, to fall outside the top 4.

If Oklahoma wins out, including in a probable rematch verses Baylor in the Big-12 conference game, they will be in position for the 4th seed as previously noted. Oregon will see Utah in the Pac-12 conference championship game and the winner of that game will need some help from LSU and Baylor to find their way into the Top 4. It is pretty crazy that the injury of one player has changed the entire landscape of the College Football Playoffs, but that is the level of respect Tua and Alabama command when they are at full strength.

Editorial credit: Jamie Lamor Thompson / Shutterstock.comSMLSize Guide

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