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Could Johnny Football and the Aggies become a surprise BCS team?
Note: The Southeastern Conference has been broken into separate slides due to the large amount of potential at-large candidates warranting discussion.
Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0, 5-0)
Alabama has annihilated every opponent in its path this season, and is far and away the best team in the country. The Tide rolled Michigan in the first game of the year and have trampled every team they've faced since.
This Saturday's highly touted matchup with LSU may be all that stands between 'Bama and a second straight visit to the BCS National Championship Game. If the Tigers can pull off the upset, they would control their destiny in reaching the SEC Championship Game and thus keeping the Tide out of it.
It would be a travesty for football fans in Tuscaloosa if the Tide had to settle for an at-large bid, but their enormous fanbase and track record of success would make them a prime candidate if they failed to qualify for an automatic BCS berth.
LSU Tigers (7-1, 3-1)
With so many games remaining, this is where it gets a little hairy. There are currently four one-loss teams in the SEC, and it's basically a given that two teams from this conference will be playing in BCS bowl games.
If the Tigers want an automatic bid, they have to go through Alabama. If they lose this weekend, an at-large bid becomes their only hope of a BCS berth. LSU is currently No. 5 in the BCS rankings, so it's unlikely a loss to the No. 1 team would remove them from the top 14.
Winning out the rest of the year shouldn't be too difficult, so long as the Tigers can get past Mississippi State two weeks from now. A 10-2 overall record with wins over the Bulldogs, Gamecocks and Aggies would make LSU a very convincing choice for a potential at-large selection.
In other words, it's a safe bet the loser of Saturday's showdown will be a favorite for an at-large bid.
Mississippi State Bulldogs (7-1, 3-1)
A week after seeing its undefeated record go down in flames, Mississippi State will now host a tough Texas A&M squad this Saturday. After that, it's off to face LSU.
The Bulldogs, currently No. 15 in the BCS standings, would have to run the table and see the Tide lose twice for a trip to the SEC Championship Game—an extremely unlikely scenario indeed.
With no wins over ranked opponents currently under its belt, victories over the Aggies and Tigers would be Mississippi State's only shot of entering the at-large discussion. With the latter being the more impressive, of course, it's not entirely impossible. Finishing off the season with victories over Arkansas and Ole Miss would bring the Bulldogs to 11-1 and 7-1 in SEC play.
Depending on how the SEC East unfolds, the previously discussed scenario would give them a solid shot an winning over the selection committee when it comes time to fill any potential at-large bids.
Texas A&M Aggies (6-2, 3-2)
The longest of long shots for an at-large bid, I decided Johnny Manziel (pictured) and the Aggies warranted a quick mention.
Johnny "Football," as he's called, has taken the college football world by storm with his play thus far in the season. The freshman phenom has been getting it done with both his arm and his legs, piling up over 3,000 total yards and 29 total touchdowns through just eight games.
It would take an upset of epic proportions, but if the Aggies can get past Miss. State and somehow topple the Tide on Nov. 10, an at-large bid wouldn't be out of the question at all.
After all, Texas A&M's only two losses came against Florida and LSU by a total of eight points. That alone would be a huge plus in the eyes of the decision-makers.