By Andrew J. Pridgen

Alabama, the unstoppable NFL farm club supported by tons and tons of cheering back fat, got waxed by a faster, stronger, deeper and more compelling Auburn Saturday, not only lost for the first time since January’s title game, but also whiffed on a shot at appearing as the SEC West’s representative in that conference’s championship game next week. Which means, technically, the Tide will roll to a third-place finish behind Auburn or Georgia.

Finishing third in a conference should definitely take a team out of being top-four in the nation to compete for a national championship, right? If you say “No” then I can make a pretty compelling argument as to why Stanford, Washington, Washington State, USC, Michigan State, Penn State along with TCU, UCF and Memphis belong in the mix as well.

Lo and behold, Sunday morning Bama fans, waking up to the second shocker in a calendar year, seem to be the bargaining stage of grieving—led by southern fried cliché-spitter Clay Travis. Normally, I don’t like to give Travis any portion of my gray matter, but it’s funny to watch him scramble in attempts to conceal his racist, misogynist, specious self as he sublimates it through football rants.

He starts by using ALL the characters to try to explain a measuring stick that isn’t actually a thing: a program’s ability to best other .500 or better programs (?????). It’s like saying I’m going to buy a used car but I’m going to judge its value by the number of times the previous owner farted on the front seat. Using this as his flag in the ground is definitely strange because it doesn’t take into consideration the .500-or-better opponents’ conference/strength of schedule/um, uniform colors, which is the reason it doesn’t exist as a metric.

The real bar to clear in order to get to a four-team playoff is a team’s ability to best ranked teams, especially those in their own region—and to make it to their conference’s championship game (more on that in a second) and win it. Much like his political beliefs or worldview, Travis uses facts that aren’t actual facts to furnish an argument that is untenable:

…And ends by talking about who Vegas would favor (?!?!)

Travis, a former attorney, should know this isn’t a defense, this is scorn.

But let’s pick it apart with actual facts that are useful in determining such things as who gets to play for a silver vulva trophy. To merit consideration for a shot at the four-team playoff, Ohio State in the regular season had to square off against a quartet of ranked opponents: Oklahoma, Penn State, Michigan State, Michigan… and would have to beat undefeated Wisconsin in its conference title game.

Alabama took snaps against three ranked opponents this season, Mississippi State (which went on to finish .500 in their division and out of the top 25), three-loss LSU and, finally, Auburn—which beat them soundly 26-14, the SEC equivalent of a 40-point PAC-12 win. So the Tide was exactly .500 against teams that were ranked by season’s end and rounded out their schedule with convincing wins vs. patsy sub-.500 programs like Mercer, Ole Miss, Arkansas, Tennessee and Vanderbilt along with a few of those quality .500 program-or-better wins vs. the likes of Fresno State and Colorado State.

In spite of having a single loss, Bama definitely does NOT deserve the nod over programs like Clemson, Miami, Georgia, Auburn, Ohio State, Wisconsin or even the winner between USC or Stanford, because, well, for starters they had to play one fewer game against top competition.

Yet the chorus of boos from the state that’s backsliding into fascist Nazi lockstep as they prepare to elect a child molester to the Senate because he believes in persecution of gays and blacks, separate restrooms and waving guns during campaign speeches, is deafening.

So you get left out of the four-team playoff? Deal with it Bama.

I soooo get it. A four-team playoff is the equivalent of only being able to watch Footloose, Xanadu, Urban Cowboy and Crazy, Stupid, Love the rest of your Sunday hangover movie-viewing life; it’s not totally awful, but it’s also not totally fair—and it’s far from complete. But it’s been like this for every region of the nation west of Norman, Oklahoma for the entirety of this failed experiment.

To Clay Travis and the rest of golf-guy, dudebro, mansplain, beltphone nation, I get that college football is the only thing you have besides marching in business casual attire to maintain statues of traitorous racists, trolling powerful women on Twitter with abhorrent memes and mainlining orange-flavored hatred, but you, like most of the rest of us, are going to have to sit this one out. This is not a district you can gerrymander or a fringe regime you can prop up with the Electoral College.

…Your team didn’t win when it mattered, and that’s what matters most.