So it is all over for Alabama apparently. The defending NCAA champion was beaten on its home field on Saturday by new SEC rival Texas A&M, and with that loss went any hopes to repeat, right? After all, Notre Dame, Kansas State and Oregon all remain unbeaten and all are ahead of the Crimson Tide now in the latest BCS standings with at most three games remaining.
But that SEC pedigree can save Alabama still. The schedule features just one more difficult game -- the conference championship against Georgia. Before then, the Crimson Tide face Western Carolina and then rival Auburn -- normally an anything-can-happen contest, but the Tigers are 2-8 and haven't won a game yet in the SEC.
And that game against Georgia? The Bulldogs are 9-1 and already have clinched the SEC East title. But check that schedule closely. They didn't have to play Alabama, LSU, Texas A&M or Mississippi -- the four best teams in the SEC West. They just scraped past Florida in a neutral site contest and were blown out at South Carolina. Alabama will be a heavy, heavy favorite in Atlanta.
Suddenly at 12-1 overall the Crimson Tide would be in prime position to swipe a spot in the BCS title game again if another team falters. Notre Dame is certainly no guarantee to win at rival USC in two weeks. The Trojans have spent the better part of 80 years ruining Notre Dame seasons. Kansas State still has to play Texas. And Oregon plays three ranked teams to end the season -- Stanford, on the road at rival Oregon State and either USC or UCLA in the Pac-12 title game. Dry those tears, Crimson Tide fans. There is still hope.
- Brian McNally