Mississippi State vs. Alabama: How SEC Clash Impacts Conference Outlook

Brandon AlisogluCorrespondent IOctober 26, 2012

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 20:  AJ McCarron #10 of the Alabama Crimson Tide calls out signals to his offense against the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium on October 20, 2012 in Knoxville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Whenever two Top 15 teams collide, there will be consequences. Mississippi State against the Alabama Crimson Tide will be no different, but the ramifications will be felt by the entire conference.

And possibly the entire country.

Let's dispense with the obvious: whoever loses will no longer be undefeated. That team will also no longer be in the driver's seat to reach the SEC Championship game.

All right, onward and upward. 

If Alabama Wins in a Close Game

This is the best possible outcome for the conference. It would lend an air of legitimacy to MSU because the Bulldogs do not have any right now.

They haven't beaten a single ranked opponent. There is an actual argument that MSU's best win was on the road against Troy.

Yes, Troy. Not the USC Trojans. Troy.

Proving that the Bulldogs were good enough to hang with the top team in the land gives the SEC one team besides Bama, Florida and LSU that is certifiably good.

Georgia got crushed in their only marquee matchup with South Carolina. Now, neither team has much credibility because SC got beat by LSU and paddled by the Gators. 

If Alabama Wins in a Blowout

If Mississippi State cannot keep pace with the Tide, the SEC is in serious trouble of losing its best top-to-bottom status.

Not that there is another contending conference that springs to mind. Maybe college football only has four good teams, and everyone else is mediocre. 

Seriously, it would expose a great divide between the top three SEC teams and everyone else. And depending on how next week's LSU-Bama contest goes, it might just be the big two.

If Mississippi State Wins

Brace yourself. The SEC could play its way out of the national championship game altogether.

If MSU wins and then loses to either Texas A&M or LSU, every team in the West division will have a loss. Unless Florida can escape Atlanta unscathed (not a certainty by any means), the SEC will be without an undefeated team.

Mind you, there are four other unbeatens out there and a couple of one-loss teams (Oklahoma and USC) that have a chance to enter the national title discussion. If this were to occur, you can bet your bottom dollar that senators from the affected Southern states will attempt to fast track federal legislation mandating SEC involvement.

It's not the politicians' fault. Based on the last six years and the media coverage this season, it's understandable if they assumed it was already law.

However, as it currently stands today, there is no such mandate.

The SEC better pull for Alabama. Just not by too much.