Despite falling from the ranks of the unbeaten this past weekend, No. 4 Alabama (9-1) can still return to the BCS National Championship Game for the second year in a row.
It won't be nearly as easy as it would have been had they remained unbeaten, as Nick Saban's squad no longer controls their own destiny, but they must move past the loss and control the things that they can.
Even after losing to the Texas A&M Aggies, the Tide still sit alone atop the West division in the SEC, a game ahead of the Aggies and two games up on the LSU Tigers.
With only one conference game remaining on their schedule—a Nov. 24 meeting with an Auburn squad that has yet to win a conference game in 2012—Alabama has a clear path to the SEC Championship Game against either Georgia, Florida or South Carolina.
Taking home the championship in the nation's best conference certainly counts for something, and a 12-1 Alabama squad with an SEC Championship on their resume would clearly be the best one-loss team in the nation.
Will Alabama return to the BCS National Championship Game?
Winning out won't be enough, though. Alabama needs help from outside.
Three unbeaten schools sit ahead of them in the BCS Standings: No. 1 Kansas State, No. 2 Oregon and No. 3 Notre Dame, all 10-0.
Two of them need to lose for Alabama to get back into the thick of the National Championship discussion, and believe it or not, it's not as unlikely as you may think.
Looking at the remaining schedules for those teams, each one has at least one game that they could conceivably lose. Take a look:
Nov, 17: at Baylor (4-5)
Dec. 1: vs. No. 15 Texas (8-2)
Nov. 17: vs. No 13. Stanford (8-2)
Nov. 24: at No. 16 Oregon State (7-2)
If the Ducks win those two games, they'll still have one more game left.
Dec. 1: Pac-12 Championship Game vs. No. 17 UCLA (8-2) or No. 18 USC (7-3)
Who is most likely to remain unbeaten?
Nov. 17: vs. Wake Forest (5-5)
Nov. 24: at No. 18 USC (7-3)
Of the three, it's fair to say that Kansas State probably has the easiest path to remaining unbeaten, while Oregon faces the stiffest challenge.
It won't be easy, and there are no guarantees. Not having control over a situation makes it an untenable one, but the Crimson Tide are still very much alive for the BCS National Championship.