In an emotional comeback win, the Louisiana State Bengal Tigers defeated the University of Alabama Crimson Tide this afternoon, 24-21. The loss by the Tide drops them out of contention for a repeat performance in the national championship game.
But the question now becomes: What does Alabama do now with four games left in the season (including a record appearance in a bowl game)?
The best the Tide can hope for is to play spoiler. They can do that in at least two ways.
First of all, they can man up and beat a surging Mississippi State Bulldog team next week. But that will be no easy task. Head coach Dan Mullen has his charges playing better and better each game, and the Bulldogs are ranked in the top 20 nationally. This is a team that stifled and beat Florida and played well against Auburn.
Defeating MSU would halt an amazing streak the Bulldogs have run off and send notice that "upstarts" like them do not belong among the SEC's elite. At the moment, 'Bama has as many SEC losses as State, and that cannot stand.
Besides, the game is being played in Tuscaloosa, so that may help somewhat. But following the loss against LSU, the Tide is likely to come out completely flat against the Bulldogs, who have had an extra week or preparation to get ready for the game.
Then comes what amounts to an off week as Alabama faces first-year program Georgia State. While the temptation is to run up the score on the undermanned and undersized GSU team, the Crimson Tide starters would be better rested to face the final regular season test against Auburn.
And that's the second way Alabama can play spoiler. By the time the Tide faces the Tigers, Auburn will still be undefeated and ranked either No. 1 or No. 2 in the nation.
Sure, Cameron Newton will probably win the Heisman, but the Tide nation would love it if the only blemish on the quarterback's record this year would be a loss to Alabama.
If Alabama wins that game, it would be even sweeter because it would knock its most hated rival from national championship picture.
Doing so would almost make up for the stinging loss against LSU.