(ABC News/ESPN) AUBURN, Ala. -- Nick Saban believes Alabama still should be in consideration to reach the College Football Playoff.
Saban's playoff jockeying began just moments after his No. 1-ranked Crimson Tide were handed their first loss of the season, a 12-point defeat on the road to rival and No. 6-ranked Auburn.
By losing, Alabama finished second in the SEC West and won't compete for the conference championship against Georgia next Saturday.
"I think this team deserves an opportunity to get in the playoff by what they've been able to accomplish and what they've been able to do," Saban said after the game. "Certainly not maybe in this game, but I think the team we played tonight is a very good football team, probably one of the best teams in the country.
"They won 11 games, and not many teams are able to do that. I really don't know what all the scenarios might be where we'd have an opportunity to do it, but I'd certainly like to see this team get an opportunity to do it."
Entering the weekend, Alabama was one of two unbeaten Power 5 programs, along with Wisconsin, and it was No. 2 in ESPN's strength of record metric and No. 1 in game control. But against Auburn, the wheels came off. Alabama fumbled three times, including a botched field goal, and allowed more than 400 total yards of offense in a 26-14 defeat.
For Alabama to have a shot at reaching the playoff, a few dominoes would need to fall -- Wisconsin losing to Ohio State in the Big Ten title game and Oklahoma losing to TCU in the Big 12 title game, to name a couple of possibilities.
When asked whether he shared Saban's opinion about making the playoff, senior center Bradley Bozeman said it's "up to the committee."
"That's not for me to say," he said. "Us guys, we play our butts off. Whatever chance we get, we'll take full advantage of it."