We won't be the championship, but some BCS bucks would sure be nice.
Dreams of a repeat National Championship Game appearance for the Alabama Crimson Tide ticked away with the game clock in Baton Rouge.
The 24-21 loss to the Tigers squashed any hopes of repeating.
But is the Tide still out of the picture for a BCS game?
There are 10 spots up for grabs, but they aren't truly up for grabs. The champions of the BCS conferences (ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Pac-10 and SEC) are each guaranteed an automatic BCS Bowl bid.
TCU is more than likely in already even if they lose to lowly New Mexico State.
That leaves three possible spots open for the Tide if certain things fall into place. And for those naysayers out there, remember that No. 12 Iowa went to a BCS bowl last year at 10-2 with an at-large bid.
In all honesty, we feel there's only one spot open for an SEC team to play in the BCS besides the conference champ. Any automatic qualifying conference that has a team in the national championship game will, in all likelihood, have another conference team in the BCS.
But there's still hope.
If, and it's a large if, several of the following scenarios play out, the Crimson Tide could find themselves back in the BCS bowl picture.
We thought Cal had 'em this week. It ain't over yet.
The Oregon Ducks have been flying high this season, leading the nation in points per game with 51 on average.
And the Ducks' D isn't shabby, either. They rank eighth in points allowed.
So the nation was shocked last week when lowly Cal held the mighty Ducks to a measly 15 points and a two point win against the Bears.
Could this portend that the Pac-10 has figured out the Oregon attack?
Probably not. But with games against Arizona (at home) and Oregon State (away), Oregon might be tested. Losses to both of these would surely knock the Ducks below the Tide in the BCS rankings and open the door for Stanford to be the sole Pac-10 rep in the BCS.
Missed it by that much!
This entire exercise depends on Alabama upsetting Auburn in a few days. A quality win against a top-ranked opponent will surely raise the Tide's BCS stock.
The problem for the Tide is that the Tigers must then beat South Carolina in the SEC Championship Game. That would send Auburn to the BCS as the SEC's representative.
The last thing any 'Bama fan wants is to see Steve Spurrier carrying the SEC banner in BCS play.
So, as much as it may pain the average Tide fan to say, he or she will loudly cheer for the Tigers in Atlanta.
After 'Bama beats Auburn, of course.
Ooh, what a lucky man he was.
In order to be the "other" SEC team in the BCS, 11th-ranked Alabama needs to have the LSU Tigers lose to either Ole Miss or Arkansas.
At 9-1 and ranked fifth in the BCS, LSU would probably go in as the "at large" rep after the SEC champ if they defeat both remaining opponents.
Let's face it—Ole Miss is toast.
But LSU may face a buzz saw in a rising Arkansas team that scorched SEC East champ South Carolina a couple of weeks ago.
Pass defense is the sole weak link of the LSU D...and it is the bread and butter of the Hog O.
At least the matchup between the two will be a great one, possibly one for the ages in the rivalry.
We don't like either of these schools anyway.
Oklahoma State (10th in BCS) and Nebraska (eighth) both lead the Tide in the standings. Each has a loss. If each stays undefeated, these two will face off in the Big 12 Conference Championship Game.
The winner goes on to a BCS bowl. The loser drops below Alabama in the standings and out of BCS contention.
It's as simple as that right? Actually, it could even be even more simple than that.
Nebraska faces a pesky Texas A&M team this week and could be upset, while Oklahoma State will have to play Oklahoma in the season finale, and that's never easy.
If the Sooners win that game (and assuming they beat Baylor this week), they, not the Cowboys, will go on to face the Big 12 North champ in the title bout. And that's if the Cornhuskers beat the Aggies.
Is that clear?
We said all that to say this: Look for only one Big 12 rep, no matter who it is, in BCS play.
You kidding me? I gotta root for Cal? Sheesh.
Stanford scares us and with good reason. The Cardinal have the best chance to be an at-large BCS team.
Who are we kidding? We really don't think Oregon will lose (although stranger things have happened—remember Pitt and WVU?). So the Ducks will get the Pac-10 BCS spot.
But if Stanford beats Cal and Oregon State, it will probably get to a BCS bowl since the team comes in at No. 6 in the most recent BCS poll.
If there's any glimmer of hope for 'Bama fans, it may be this: Stanford killed Arizona two weeks ago, but they struggled mightily against Arizona State, winning that game by only 4.
Let's hope the Cal team that gave Oregon heart failure shows up and the Stanford team that forgot which Arizona squad it was playing shows up this week in Berkeley.
And if that doesn't pan out, then go Beavers!
What is this? Arena league?
If Boise State gets through the season undefeated, it will play in a BCS bowl.
TCU is already there, since they essentially have a scrimmage against New Mexico State left on the schedule.
But Boise still has two formidable foes to face. One is Fresno State.
Pat Hill usually has an upset or two in his bag, and the coach who famously will go anywhere to play anybody can scheme with the best of them. So that game's not a gimme.
Neither is facing a rejuvenated Nevada in Reno. Boise must bring its "A" game to stop the rushing attack of the Wolf Pack and reach the BCS.
We think a one-loss Boise team will drop below a two-loss 'Bama squad. But that might not be enough. BSU could still qualify for an at large bid if it remains in the top 12 of the BCS rankings. So would any non-automatic qualifying conference champ if it ends up in the top 16 with an automatic qualifier ranked below them in the BCS.
The problem with either TCU or Boise State not playing in the National Championship Game is that the automatic-qualifying conferences probably get another team in the mix. Thus we want at least one of the two BCS busters (TCU or BSU) to play for the national championship.
So here's hoping for a two-loss BSU squad come BCS selection time, just to make sure.
Maize and gold are looking pretty good for Tide fans if they can pull off the upset.
Suddenly, Denard Robinson is one of 'Bama's best buddies.
He'd be every Tide fan's BFF if he leads the Wolverines to a victory over either Wisconsin this week or against the Ohio State University in the season finale.
Knocking one or the other of the Big Ten's teams that are ranked higher than the Tide in the BCS would be doing us a tremendous favor.
'Cause we want only one Big Ten team going to the BCS, not two.
OSU has the tougher row to hoe: It faces Iowa this week before finishing in Columbus against Michigan. Wisconsin must finish against up-and-coming Northwestern in Camp Randall on Nov. 27. Neither of those is a gimme, either.
And let's ignore that a one-loss Michigan State team lurks just below the Tide in the BCS. In the case of a two- or three-team tie atop the conference standings, the league will decide which team gets the bid. In any case, we need only one team from them Yankee states going.
We don't care how it happens, we just need the football gods to make it happen.