The 2011 season is quickly rolling to a close, and much clearer bowl projections are being made. With too many stars needing to align and too many dominoes to fall, Alabama looks to be Sugar Bowl-bound and out of the national title race.
It is not exactly where the Crimson Tide faithful hoped and expected Alabama to end up at the end of the year, but it's a heck of a lot better than most teams could even dream of. A trip to the Sugar Bowl, one of the five major BCS bowl games, should not be taken for granted.
In 2010, Boise State fans were as discontent as they could have been, knowing that their beloved Broncos would have to settle for the Rose Bowl rather than the BCS National Championship Game. The Broncos then lost to Nevada in overtime and ended up going to the Maaco Bowl Las Vegas.
The Sugar Bowl annually hosts the SEC champions, but for the past five years the champions have gone onto play in and win the national championship. The Sugar Bowl is now, and looks to remain, a showing of the second-best team in the SEC.
"Second-best" will have to be a loose term this year, as Alabama is neck-and-neck with LSU. One of those teams had to lose the game, and LSU was just one leg better.
But take heart, Alabama fans, as the Crimson Tide will have the opportunity to do a favor for all big-school fans across the nation.
Since Boise State upset Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, their fans and supporters have been talking incessantly about how the Broncos should play for the national championship. Sometimes they claim they deserve a shot over an undefeated team from an automatic qualifying conference.
The term "strength of schedule" means little to supporters of Boise State and other smaller schools. Their argument is that the national championship should be between the two best teams in the nation, and Boise State is considered by many two be a team in that upper echelon.
While they may be correct, the fact remains that the teams must prove it all season long against numerous quality opponents. Boise State just does not do this due to the weakness of both their old and new conferences.
Once again, Boise State looks to remain out of the national championship, and, more likely than not, will face Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.
How would the game play out? Would the Tide's top-ranked defense get shredded by the perennial Heisman contender, quarterback Kellen Moore? Could their undersized offensive line stop the Tide's ruthless pass rush? Would their flyweight linebackers stop the powerful Trent Richardson?
I believe the answer is a solid "no." Boise State is a good team that put the Georgia Bulldogs on the ropes. However, they would not stand a chance against a team who was as good as if not a better team than LSU in every aspect other than the kicking game.
Boise State won't get its chance at a national championship this year, but they will get their other dream of playing another big school on a huge stage.
And the critics of Boise State will hail the Crimson Tide, as they will remind Boise State just where their place is.
I will present an in-depth preview of what this matchup would look like in tomorrow's article.