The coaches, athletic directors and fans of the Southeastern Conference have been some of the staunchest supporters of the BCS system since its inception.
Due to the perennial strength of the conference, they have, in turn, benefited handsomely from a financial perspective due to its existence.
In 2011, the SEC received $27.2 million because they sent both a conference champion (Auburn) and an at-large bid (Arkansas) to the lucrative BCS bowl games.
This year looks to be yet another money-laden BCS scenario for the SEC, with both Alabama and LSU appearing to be the class of the FBS. Regardless of which team wins their highly anticipated showdown on November 5th, both programs seem very likely to earn a spot in a BCS bowl game.
With the potential of increased television revenues from the Bowl Championship Series, the SEC could bring home over $30 million this year, and that’s not counting the revenue machine that is the SEC Championship game prior to those bowl games.
Enter Boise State and a potential doomsday scenario for the BCS and the SEC.
There is a perfect storm brewing in the SEC that could put computers and poll voters alike to the ultimate test in deciding which team deserves to go to which BCS bowl game this year. If this perfect storm comes to pass, it will be the situation that the BCS has dreaded for years.
First, let’s look at the upcoming matchup of LSU and Alabama, which most college football fans and experts consider a quasi-semifinal game for the BCS Championship.
The winner goes on to play in the big game, and the loser gets an at-large bid to the Sugar Bowl.
That’s a nice neat package, right?
Well, it is as long as the winner of the LSU vs. Alabama game goes on to win the SEC Championship Game. What if the winner of that game goes on to the SEC Championship Game and stumbles and loses at the Georgia Dome?
Worse yet, what if that loss occurs to Georgia, which looks well positioned now to win the SEC Eastern Division?
Let’s say, as an example, that LSU wins the matchup with Alabama and then goes on to lose to Georgia in the SEC Championship Game. We would then have a situation where Georgia gets an automatic bid to a BCS game, but can you put them into the BCS Championship Game, not only with two losses, but ahead of Boise State, who beat Georgia in the season opener and will probably end the season undefeated?
Georgia playing for the BCS Championship just isn’t going to happen.
Can you go ahead and put LSU into the BCS Championship Game despite the team not even winning its own conference? You could, but that raises the question of putting them in over an undefeated Boise State team, who beat the team that just beat them.
Then, what about Alabama?
A one-loss SEC team gets shunned from a BCS game altogether, while a two-loss Georgia team gets in? Can the voters possibly put all three SEC teams into BCS games?
That would mean that the SEC could have a two-loss team and two one-loss teams in the BCS games, and one of the other AQ conferences would likely have a one-loss team ranked in the Top 10 that gets bumped out of an at-large bid.
Can you imagine Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., Michigan St., Wisconsin, Stanford or Oregon not getting a BCS bid with one loss this year?
Now, look at the remaining undefeated teams in the AQ conferences.
It’s likely that only Clemson and Stanford will be favored in all of their remaining games, but will have at least a couple of games where they are favored by a touchdown or less.
What if all of the AQ teams take at least one loss? What if none of them take a loss? Where does Boise State fit in?
Could the BCS be forced to allow a non-AQ team to play for its precious championship? The potential scenarios are endless, but many of them—including the worst case scenarios—hinge upon one game.
If the winner of the LSU vs. Alabama game goes on to win the SEC Championship Game, it makes the picture much clearer.
But, if it doesn't and Georgia happens to win the SEC, the mighty Southeastern Conference will set the BCS perfect storm in motion, and the Boise State Broncos will be in the eye of that storm.