Alabama Football: How Nick Saban, Tide Can Still Make the BCS Title Game
And then there were three.
Alabama, the team that was considered the best in all of college football for the majority of the regular season, has now lost a game. The newbie of the SEC, Texas A&M, found a way to knock off the Crimson Tide in a competitive matchup that ended with a score of 29-24.
It is the first loss for head coach Nick Saban in a little over a year.
There will be no undefeated season for this club, but this is a program that always has its mind on national championships. And while it may be hard to understand at this point, it would be foolish to count this team out of the national championship conversation even with one loss.
Here is why Alabama still has a good chance to make the big game and make everybody happy again in Tuscaloosa.
Throw Out Notre Dame
There are now three undefeated teams left in Notre Dame, Oregon and Kansas State. While many don't agree that a one-loss program should jump an undefeated team, that's life in the BCS and could happen regardless of what Notre Dame does.
The Irish do have four wins over ranked opponents, but every one of those teams has looked shaky throughout the year, really hurting the team in the polls. Notre Dame has also struggled to beat subpar opponents such as Purdue, BYU and Pittsburgh. There is a reason the Leprechauns haven't made much progress in the BCS rankings and were the lowest of the previous four undefeated teams at the top of the rankings.
Even if the Irish do finish the season undefeated, it is hard to see this team finishing in the Top Two of the BCS. We also can't overlook a USC club that plays Notre Dame at the end of the season, as the Trojans have a realistic shot to pull off a victory, eliminating this team from the conversation altogether.
If you add an SEC championship to Alabama's resume, Nick Saban and company will easily jump this program with the Irish not having a conference championship game to participate in.
Hope for a Kansas State Loss
We can't use the same argument for a weak schedule with Kansas State, as the Wildcats have beaten some good competition in the Big 12. They should also remain the favorites the rest of the way with teams such as Baylor and Texas on the remaining schedule.
Still, hoping for a loss wouldn't hurt, and the Longhorns should give Kansas State a run for its money at the end of the year.
However, there are a few things working in Alabama's favor once again.
The BCS rankings absolutely loved this Crimson Tide team before the loss, giving it an overall average of 0.9957. Kansas State only had an average of 0.9318, which is quite a distance between the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the country. Is one Alabama loss enough for Kansas State to stay ahead in the rankings if the Tide win out the rest of the way?
Kansas State is also a team that doesn't have a conference championship game to play, which, once again, works in the favor of Alabama in this situation.
Crush a One-Loss Georgia Team
While it would be nice for Oregon to lose a game as well, the Ducks will be the favorites to not only win the Pac-12 championship but also secure one of the spots in the BCS National Championship Game. With only one spot remaining, Crimson Tide fans should hope for Georgia to win out and reach the SEC championship game with only one loss.
Will Alabama play in the BCS National Championship?
The Bulldogs, who were fifth in the BCS before this weekend, would remain a top-ranked club if this in fact happens.
Alabama needs to drop the hammer on Georgia in the conference championship game and remove any doubt that it is the top team in the SEC. The rankings have loved this conference all season long, as there were five SEC teams in the most recent Top 10, and a dominant performance over another highly-ranked program could be enough for Alabama to jump whichever team is standing in the way.
The Crimson Tide aren't used to having control taken away from them, but the possibility of appearing in the national championship is still there.
With a little help the rest of the way and impressive performances in the next few weeks, Alabama may sneak back into the title conversation.
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