BCS Bowl Projections 2013: How Alabama's Iron Bowl Loss Will Impact Rankings

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BCS Bowl Projections 2013: How Alabama's Iron Bowl Loss Will Impact Rankings
Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

In perhaps one of the most amazing finishes you'll ever see, the No. 4-ranked Auburn Tigers defeated the No. 1-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday.

The Tigers' 34-28 win is an instant classic that ranks with the Stanford and California's "Band is on the Field" game in 1982. As Auburn's Chris Davis raced 100 yards on Alabama kicker Cade Foster's missed field-goal attempt, that historic moment was the first thing that popped into my mind.

The amazing ending will create mounds of discussion and debate in the college football world for weeks to come. On a larger scale, what does Auburn's upset win mean? There are three very big questions to answer after this epic game as it pertains to the BCS bowl picture.

How Far Does Alabama Fall?

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Crimson Tide are still 11-1 with their only loss having come on the road, on a miracle play to the No. 4-ranked team in the nation. Quite obviously, Bama would have to be ranked highest amongst every one-loss team in the country—aside from Auburn.

Does that also mean Bama deserves to move ahead of the No. 3-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes? Urban Meyer's team escaped the Big House with a 42-41 win over arch rival Michigan on Saturday, but their weak schedule has many disrespecting their accomplishments this season.

The Bucks are on a 24-game win streak, but there is legitimate concern as to whether they should be considered better than a top-notch, one-loss SEC team. I don't control the bottom line, but if the question is which is a better football team, Alabama or Ohio State? The answer is clearly the Tide. 

Though this may not come to fruition, the Bucks should be ranked behind Alabama for now. Although, defeating Michigan State in the Big Ten title game should be enough to pass Bama who would be idle.

How High Does Auburn Rise?

John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

The Tigers have pulled out two epic and improbable wins in consecutive weeks.

One might call them lucky, but luck didn't allow the Tigers to outrush Bama 296 to 218 on Saturday. Nor did luck help Nick Marshall step up with an 11-16, two-touchdown performance through the air to complement his 99 yards rushing. Lastly, luck wasn't responsible for Auburn limiting Alabama to a 30 percent third-down efficiency rate either.

Did Auburn get an opportunity to make an extraordinary, improbable and spectacular play? Yes, but the Tigers made their own luck on Saturday. 

By slaying No. 1 and playing a schedule that has included five top-25 teams, Auburn should be the No. 2 team in the nation behind Florida State.

Where Does That Leave Ohio State?

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

For now, the Buckeyes should remain on the outside looking in to the BCS Championship picture. Auburn's win should put them in the second spot, Alabama should be third and Ohio State should be fourth.

How the Top 4 Should Look After Rivalry Week
Ranking Team Record
1 Florida State 12-0
2 Auburn 11-1
3 Alabama 11-1
4 Ohio State 11-0

Brian Mazique's Predictions

The only way the Buckeyes deserve to play for a national championship is if they beat Michigan State and Auburn loses in the SEC Championship Game.

Buckeyes fans are going to hate me for this take, but the fact the team has only played two ranked teams this season is hard to overlook. What's worse, Ohio State won those two games (against Wisconsin and Northwestern) by an average of 8.5 points. How bad would Alabama or Auburn beat Wisconsin and Northwestern?

If Auburn wins the SEC title game and Florida State wins the ACC Championship, the two should meet in the BCS title game. In that scenario, Alabama deserves an Orange or Sugar Bowl berth with Ohio State headed to the Rose Bowl.

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