For the better part of two quarters Friday, it looked as though the Auburn Tigers' defensive woes were finally catching up to them. The statistical categories in which they'd been falling short of past SEC and BCS champions all season long -- most importantly, scoring defense and passing efficiency D -- were being exploited by an efficient and explosive Alabama Crimson Tide offense.
And then, over the next two and a half quarters, the Tigers flipped the script, not only coming back behind the strength of their statistically superior offense, but by clamping down on D as well, turning in their best defensive half of the season (early-season cupcake opponents not included).
The Tigers' concerns on defense remain, but their path to the BCS championship game is simple: beat a statistically inferior South Carolina Gamecocks team and they're in. Several other teams are facing season-defining tests this weekend for conference and national championships, and we show you which favorites should be on upset watch, and which teams could sneak their way in. For a refresher course on what our model does, tracking the BCS race and conference title races using statistical benchmarks set by past champs, see our introductory post here.