SEC teams get their share of love for the strength of their conference, but this year that quality will come back to bite them. Alabama's home loss—to a very good Texas A&M team—will likely mean that no SEC team will play for the BCS title for the first time since 2005.
Alabama joined Georgia and Florida as highly ranked one-loss SEC teams.
All of those teams' losses have come within the conference. LSU is another quality SEC team who has been bitten by the conference's quality. The Tigers have two losses, but the losses came against Alabama and Florida.
In a year where the best teams from other conferences have held serve up to this point, the SEC has beaten up on itself.
Alabama's setback came at home. That makes it even more difficult to vault them ahead of Kansas State, Oregon or Notre Dame—assuming two of the three finish undefeated. Even with a win in the SEC title game, it will be hard to place Alabama in the Top Two.
They don't catch any breaks with the teams with whom they are in direct competition. Kansas State and Notre Dame won't have to keep their perfection going into a conference championship game.
If Notre Dame defeats Wake Forest and USC to close out the season and Kansas State gets passed Baylor and Texas, it will watch Oregon and Alabama play for the respective conference titles.
The system won't penalize Kansas State and Notre Dame for being idle.
If Alabama is to get back into the Top Two, it needs two of the Top Three teams to lose. It isn't impossible, but it is unlikely. Oregon has the toughest remaining schedule of the teams ahead of Alabama.
They have Stanford and Oregon State to close the season. Neither of those games are gimmes, but the Ducks' offense has looked unstoppable over the last three weeks. They are averaging an unreal 63.6 points per game in that span.
I don't see the Cardinal or the Beavers being able to contain or keep pace with them.
Kansas State may be the nation's most balanced team. It is the only team ranked in the Top 15 in the nation in scoring and points allowed. Both of its opponents are one-dimensional, pass-happy teams.
Baylor and Texas can put up major scoring numbers, but their defenses are a weakness. The teams are a combined 1-5 against ranked teams this season. With a healthy Collin Klein, the Wildcats should be fine.
Notre Dame looks like a team primed to lose one of its final two games.
They will face the best offense they have seen this season when they play USC on November 24. The Irish defense will be under a ton of pressure to contain a near NFL-level offense.
It's hard to imagine Everett Golson and crew keeping pace.
Even with that, Alabama would be on the outside looking in. This is the flip-side of the SEC juggernaut; it usually works in the teams' favor, but not this year.
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