If the season ended today, Alabama would be ranked No. 4 in the BCS standings. A playoff system, with the current standings in place, would provide the Crimson Tide with a road map to a second straight BCS championship.
College football would once again have to endure a BCS champion from the SEC and another spring discussing the dominance of Nick Saban's Crimson Tide.
Considering that the Alabama Crimson Tide just lost at home to SEC newcomers Texas A&M, it seems like odd timing to discuss the Tide's championship prospects. However, a playoff system would offer a glimmer of hope.
The current BCS standings are as follows:
- Kansas State
- Notre Dame
The 2012 BCS national championship will feature the top two teams in the BCS standings. If the playoff system (which is slated to begin in 2014) was in place for 2012, then the first two games would feature Kansas State vs. Alabama and Oregon vs. Notre Dame.
Alabama would face a tough contest against Kansas State. The question is, could Collin Klein use his legs to keep the Alabama defense off balance? Johnny Manziel proved that it's possible last weekend, but the Wildcats might have to rely on their defense to escape with a victory. This surely would be a smash-mouth showdown of two very physical teams. The edge would have to go to Alabama by virtue of sheer depth and experience.
Oregon is on a roll right now and would likely defeat Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish have an elite defense, but not enough talent on offense to compete with Oregon for four quarters.
Chip Kelly has made great effort to add depth of talent to his team. Of the three BCS teams ahead of Alabama in the rankings, Oregon has the most talent across the board. The idea that the SEC governs college football by virtue of its defensive prowess would once again be tested. The acrobatic offense of the Ducks has added an extra gear this year and would keep any opposing coaching staff up at night.
Despite the pure offensive transcendence of Oregon, the old adage that defense wins championships would still hold true. Alabama QB AJ McCarron has also proved that he can light up the scoreboard when needed to this year. The ability of the Alabama defenders to close in space and execute a punishing game plan is what makes Alabama who they are.
As surreal as it might seem, the playoff system might have caused more questions in 2012 than the clarity that it promises. The current BCS system will not allow Alabama to once again transcend the college football universe unless two of the current top three BCS leaders falter.
The rest of college football should be thankful that a playoff will not take place in 2012, because Alabama is still arguably good enough to win two games against any team in the country, the top three BCS teams included.