In the minds of many Alabama fans, yesterday was a big day. The Tide defeated Mississippi State, Boise State lost and Stanford fell from the ranks of the unbeaten as well. That means Alabama now has a legit shot at playing for the national championship, right?
On the surface it would appear that way, but the reality is that while Alabama might finish the season No. 2, they will not play in the national championship game and here is why.
First, Oklahoma State would have to lose a game. The Cowboys have two games remaining. The first is against a 5-4 Iowa State team. While games are played on the field and not on paper, the Cowboys would have to have an epic collapse to lose this game.
Their next game is against the Oklahoma Sooners, but keep two things in mind. First, the Sooners recently lost All-American wide receiver Ryan Broyles for the season with a torn ACL. Broyles had already caught 83 passes for 1,157 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Secondly, the Cowboys have two weeks to prepare for this game. Oklahoma State plays Iowa State November 18th, but does not play the Sooners until December 3rd.
These two facts give the Cowboys a decisive edge.
However, let’s suppose that the Sooners defeat the Cowboys—this is going to jump Oklahoma over Alabama and here is why.
Alabama has two quality wins this season. One win was against Penn State and the other win was versus Arkansas. We will cover the scenario of the Razorbacks beating the Bayou Bengals later. For now, let’s look at the scenario of an LSU win.
Penn State is going to drop at least one more game, possibly two. Best case scenario for Alabama is a resume that highlights these accomplishments.
- A win versus an 11-2 Arkansas team at home
- A win versus a 9-3 to 8-4 Penn State team on the road
- A loss to LSU at home
Oklahoma, on the other hand, will have the following accomplishments on their resume:
- A win versus an 11-1 Oklahoma State team on the road
- A win versus a 9-3 Florida State team on the road
- A win versus a 10-2 to 9-3 Kansas State team on the road
- Big 12 conference championships
This would give Oklahoma three road wins against teams that will finish the season ranked in the BCS polls. This will give Oklahoma a Big 12 championship. This will make the Sooners' last game a victory against the No. 2 team in the nation.
The computers will respond to this resume and voters will respond to this resume. The BCS does not want to face the wrath of other conferences because they create a rematch for a team that already lost this game on the road.
Lastly, let’s consider that the Razorbacks defeat the Tigers the last game of the regular season. The chances of Alabama getting into the SEC championship game are minimal at best.
For this to happen, LSU would need to drop behind both Alabama and Arkansas. This is not going to happen with the resume that the Tigers have formed with wins over Alabama and Oregon.
They might drop behind one of the teams, but they will not drop behind both. So either LSU or Arkansas is going to the championship game. Let’s assume Arkansas gets the nod but loses to Georgia.
Do you think the polls are going to send an Alabama team that finished third in their division to the championship game? Of course not. There would be two one-loss teams remaining, LSU and Alabama. The polls and voters would give LSU the nod before Alabama.
Let’s suppose that LSU goes to the SEC championship game, despite the loss to Arkansas, and loses to Georgia. LSU will not get into the championship game with two losses. The voters are not going to reward Alabama for missing the SEC championship game since LSU already beat them on their home field.
Again, this is not to belittle the accomplishments of Alabama, and they could very well finish the season No. 2, but they are not going to play for the SEC championship or the BCS national championship.
The Tide continue to look anemic on offense and horrific on special teams. With Auburn being dismantled last night, the remaining schedule for Alabama will only bring them further down.