Alabama head coach Nick Saban
Every Thursday on The SEC Blog, we will feature questions from the Bleacher Report inbox, Twitter and email.
Do you have a question for next week's Q&A? Send it to SEC lead writer Barrett Sallee via the B/R inbox, on Twitter @BarrettSallee or at email@example.com.
You've got SEC questions, and I've got SEC answers. Thank you, everybody, for your questions this week. And if I didn't get to them this week, they are still saved and will be used in the future.
And we're off:
@barrettsallee What are Alabama's realistic chances of still getting back to the national title game?—Will Davis (@Willyd321) November 12, 2012
I addressed this on Monday in a video for "The Program" and said that there's a 10 percent chance that Alabama wins out, gets the luck it needs and makes it to Miami Gardens to play in the BCS National Championship Game.
Notre Dame's luck will run out, and it will fall to the USC Trojans next week; but that won't be enough luck for Alabama to find its way into the title mix.
Kansas State may struggle with Baylor and Texas, and Oregon will certainly have its hands full with ranked opponents Stanford, Oregon State and either USC or UCLA in the Pac-12 Championship Game. But I don't see either of the top two teams losing, so the Tide's chances are slim.
However, if two of the top three lose and Alabama wins out, the Tide will play for the crystal football.
@barrettsallee why is everyone jumping off the bama bandwagon?— Maddie Keeney (@Maddie_bruh) November 15, 2012
Nobody is jumping off of the Alabama bandwagon.
Nick Saban's team is probably the most talented team top to bottom in the country but just so happened to run into a buzz saw when Johnny Football and the Texas A&M Aggies rolled into Tuscaloosa.
Alabama's defense isn't as strong as it looked earlier in the season, and that may be due to the more difficult level of competition that the Crimson Tide have played over the last two weeks.
Sometimes you just get beat, and Alabama got outplayed and outcoached by Texas A&M last week.
@barrettsallee would A&M be undefeated if they were still in he Big12?—Fake Houston Nutt (@FakeHoustonNut) November 15, 2012
That would certainly depend on when Texas A&M's hypothetical Big 12 schedule included games vs. Kansas State and Oklahoma, but I would think that it'd have a good shot.
People outside the SEC have tried to turn Texas A&M's success in the SEC into some sort of indictment of the state of SEC football. But the Aggies didn't have Johnny Manziel taking the snaps, head coach Kevin Sumlin and offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury roaming the sidelines or Damontre Moore playing defensive end in the team's new 4-3 scheme last season.
Simply put, these aren't the 2011 Aggies.
I'd love to see this A&M team vs. Kansas State and certainly think that Oklahoma and Oklahoma State would give the Aggies a run for their money. Asking Texas to tackle Johnny Football, however, may be too much to ask.
It's an interesting hypothetical, and I wouldn't be shocked if this Texas A&M team would have run the table this year in the Big 12.
@barrettsalleesir when do you think Hart Will make a decision on this staff? vols are starting to lose recruits—tony texasvol elam (@dallasvolunteer) November 15, 2012
Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart has an interesting decision to make, especially if Tennessee loses to Vanderbilt this weekend in Nashville.
If that happens, I wouldn't be totally shocked to see Hart give head coach Derek Dooley his walking papers on Sunday. That would eliminate all possibility of the Vols making a bowl game, and at that point, what's the purpose of delaying the inevitable?
It could take as much as $9.3 million to buyout Dooley's entire staff, according to a report by Evan Woodbery of the Knoxville News Sentinel (via tennessean.com). The number could certainly be negotiated down, but it still has to be taken into consideration.
It's not a deal-breaker though.
If the Vols fall this weekend, an announcement could come as soon as Sunday. Honestly, I'm surprised there wasn't one last Sunday.