Nick Saban and the rest of the Alabama Crimson Tide will have to hope for a mess to occur ahead of them in the BCS rankings if they hope to make it to the BCS title game.
Showing up in many places around the Internet are arguments for how the SEC could still be represented in the 2013 BCS National Championship Game.
While this is still a possibility, let’s get one thing squared away: A Southeastern Conference member will not play in the national title game without a loss from two of the three remaining undefeated bowl-eligible teams.
Kansas State, Oregon and Notre Dame, the three aforementioned teams, still have a lot of room to slip up and allow controversy to ensue.
The Wildcats could be surprised by an inconsistent Texas squad. The Ducks still have to face a strong Stanford team and then Oregon State a week later in the Civil War. The Fighting Irish will certainly get USC’s best shot.
But, let’s not pull the trigger prematurely. At this point, there really is no controversy that involves any team from the SEC.
Alabama, which is ranked 4th in the latest BCS rankings, is the highest-ranked team from the SEC. The Crimson Tide, who were previously ranked first in the BCS and were a unanimous number one in the AP poll, lost their first game of the season this past weekend against Texas A&M, 29-24.
Since the loss, there has been much speculation about whether or not Alabama could climb back into the national title picture, presumably based on its strength of schedule and other factors that go into the ultimate BCS computer ranking.
In addition, the overwhelming opinion that the SEC remains the toughest conference in college football gives supporters reason to argue as well.
Somewhat surprisingly, however, has been the lack of argument for why the other five teams in the SEC ranked in the Top 10 of the BCS rankings deserve a shot should two of the three unbeaten lose a game.
Take Georgia, for example. The Bulldogs are ranked 5th in the BCS standings and have only lost one game this season. Mark Richt’s team has already secured a spot in the SEC Championship Game, and will likely be matched up against the Crimson Tide.
If Georgia were to win the SEC title game, they would undoubtedly be the highest ranked SEC team. But would they receive the same kind of support that Alabama has been getting in regards to jumping over an undefeated squad?
Unless it’s coming from Athens, Georgia, probably not.
This point brings up the underlying question: Why are fans still treating Alabama like the number one team in the nation when Texas A&M proved that they are not invincible as once thought?
It is clear that the arguments for an one-loss Alabama team jumping an undefeated Notre Dame or Oregon are fueled by the fact that people still believe the Crimson Tide are the best team in the country.
Unfortunately, the past two teams Alabama has faced have proved otherwise.
Most of the country was under the impression that Alabama’s defense was simply too good to be beaten. Getting carved up in consecutive weeks by a true freshman quarterback and a quarterback whose completion percentage hovers around 68 percent, will change the court of opinion very quickly.
Two weeks ago, the case for A.J. McCarron as a Heisman hopeful was gaining speed. Now Johnny Manziel, the SEC’s leading rusher and third-leading passer, has taken McCarron’s place.
Still, even though the Crimson Tide has shown weaknesses, they are still being treated otherwise. No other one-loss team is receiving consideration for a national title bid at this point.
Thankfully the voters, and more importantly the computers, do not operate under the same assumptions as the general public.
If two of the three teams currently atop the BCS rankings remain undefeated, non-SEC can party like it’s 2006, because it will be the first time in seven years that the conference will not be represented in the national title game.