It’s a long shot, but after Saturday’s disappointing loss the Alabama Crimson Tide can still find themselves in Miami on January 7.
After the loss, the Tide dropped just three spots to #4 in this week’s BCS poll. With cream puff games left against Western Carolina, Auburn and Georgia in the SEC Championship game, with a little help the Tide’s return to the big game isn’t at all out of reach.
#1 Kansas State still has dates @ Baylor (4-5) and at home against #15 Texas (8-2).
#2 Oregon must face #13 Stanford (8-2) and travels to rival #16 Oregon State (7-2), then faces the winner of this Saturday’s #18 USC/UCLA game in the Pac 12 championship game. The Ducks defeated USC Nov. 3 in a shoot out.
#3 Notre Dame gets Wake Forrest (5-3) then faces #18 USC (7-3).
Consequently, neither Kansas State nor Notre Dame will have to play in a conference championship game.
In its favor, Alabama is the only team in the top four that will face a top five opponent, given that #5 Georgia can get past Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech before the SEC Championship game. Such a win and 12-1 record in the toughest league in the land may even prove enough to help the Tide jump a spot.
If Bama does make it back to the big game, the loss on its record will be the norm instead of the exception. In fact, of the eight SEC teams that have won the BCS National Championship, only three did so undefeated. Only 1998’s Tennessee, 2009’s Alabama and 2010’s Auburn did so unscathed.
No other team that’s won the title from any other conference has ever done it with a loss. Yet besides ’98, ’09 and ’10, every other time the SEC has taken the trophy the winner has done so with a league blemish…including an astounding 2-loss tally for LSU in 2007.
Admittedly, Alabama really hurt itself by not finishing the deal Saturday against Texas A&M. What is more likely than a date in Miami is a date in New Orleans against Notre Dame.
But then again, nobody could conceive the cards stacked against the Tide in 2011 falling into place last season either, and that road was much harder see than what has to happen this year.