Sunday, November 18, 2012
Alabama back in BCS title hunt
By Alex Scarborough
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The unthinkable has happened, again. For the second consecutive season, the University of Alabama is benefiting from a late shakeup in the top three of the BCS Standings.
Only a week after losing a game and falling from No. 1 to No. 4 in the BCS, Alabama is back in the title hunt. Former No. 1 Kansas State and No. 2 Oregon dropped out of the top 5 with losses on Saturday night, opening the door for the Crimson Tide to move up to No. 2 in the newest BCS standings, just behind unbeaten Notre Dame.
If Alabama (10-1, 7-1) beats Auburn (3-8, 0-7) this weekend, a battle with No. 3 Georgia (10-1, 7-1) would be the only obstacle separating the Crimson Tide from a trip to Miami for the BCS National Championship Game.
No. 6 Kansas State's 28-point loss to Baylor on Saturday likely cost the Wildcats a shot at the title game. Bill Snyder's team still maintains wins over a pair of top-15 teams in Oklahoma and West Virginia, but the way it lost to unranked Baylor was a big blow to the team's reputation as a contender.
No. 5 Oregon's argument for a title shot hinges on its hope for a berth in the Pac 12 Championship Game where it could add another win over a ranked team to its resume. If No. 8 Stanford beats No. 17 UCLA, Oregon would be shut out of the conference title game.
No. 4 Florida seems an unlikely suitor to end the season in Miami as it cannot compete in the SEC championship game.
The only remaining one-loss teams are No. 10 Florida State, No. 11 Clemson, No. 18 Rutgers, No. 20 Louisville and No. 23 Kent State. The Seminoles have the strongest argument for a move up the ladder but are likely too far behind in the computer ratings to make a late push.
The Crimson Tide are No. 2 in the Harris Interactive College Football Poll and the USA Today coaches’ poll, which are the other two pieces of the BCS standings formula. Alabama is also ranked No. 2 in the Associated Press poll.
If everything holds and Alabama beats Georgia, it seems unlikely the Crimson Tide would be kept out of the national championship. Their only loss came at the hands of No. 9 Texas A&M and their resume includes four solid victories, three coming away from Bryant-Denny Stadium:
a 41-14 win versus No. 19 Michigan
a 44-13 win at Tennessee
a 38-7 win over Mississippi State
a 21-17 win at No. 7 LSU
Alabama has no remaining games against BCS ranked teams in the regular season. Georgia has only Georgia Tech remaining on its schedule.