What if Alabama had their first loss the weekend AFTER Oregon and Kansas State lost, instead of the week before?
What if Aaron Murray (and Mark Richt) decides to spike the ball in the final seconds of the SEC Championship game to compose themselves on offense to make sure they get the right 2-3 plays called?
The common answer to those questions above is: Alabama might not be playing in the BCS National Championship game. Sometimes not only do you have to be good, but you have to be lucky. Timing is everything as they say. If Ohio State was post season eligible, we are looking at Notre Dame vs Ohio State in the BCS National Title Game. If Oregon or Kansas State lost first and dropped in the polls and then the following weekend Alabama lost, how many teams would Alabama have been behind to climb back into a top 2 slot?
The only team right now that can claim they deserve a shot in the BCS National Title game is Notre Dame. I know all you SEC elitist think nobody plays a harder schedule then an SEC school. Although I will say Notre Dame winning at Oklahoma and at home vs. Stanford (a team I believe is playing as well as any team in the country right now), is impressive. Some of you think a 2-loss SEC team should probably play for a national title over an undefeated Notre Dame team. And finally, a few of you don’t think football exists outside the South.
If you have a loss on your resume, your participation or invitation to the BCS Title game is up for debate. That’s a fact. Everything is subjective at that point. A computer must decide whether or not Oregon losing to a highly ranked Stanford team by a FG at home is worse than Alabama losing to a freshman quarterback at Texas A&M at home by 4 points.
As CBS Sports columnist Gregg Doyel wrote so brilliantly a few weeks back, “the SEC has cracked the computer code.” The SEC has created a system by where they make the computer believe every team in the SEC is elite, so when they lose to each other, it’s a “better loss” than when a non-SEC school loses a conference game. Pretty clever. It’s no wonder this is the 7th year in a row the SEC gets a team in the national championship game. It doesn’t hurt when your own conference title game is considered a semi-final game to the BCS championship. What other conference is afforded that right?
The SEC Championship game has become so powerful that if you are a team that just missed out on playing in the game, good fortune will also come your way. Remember last year, Alabama didn’t win their division and didn’t play in the SEC Championship game. By sitting at home and watching, they “earned” an invite to the BCS national title game. This year, the Florida Gators didn’t play in the SEC title game, and yes, by sitting at home watching, they got invited to play in the Sugar Bowl over Georgia, who played in the SEC title game (but lost) and got sent to the Capital One Bowl.
So I guess the common theme here is just be within a whiff of the SEC title game and good things will happen. All the other one-loss teams that play in conferences like the Pac12 or Big12 will inevitably be on the outside looking in. You aren’t afforded the “SEC mulligan”. Don’t lose a game! Those teams in other conferences are victims of geography, perception and propaganda by CBS and ESPN. Just remember you can’t spell “S-E-C” without “CBS and ESPN” (I just made that up…a bit of a stretch, I know)
Here is the good news – the BCS system is only around for one more year. Then it’s on to a four-team playoff format where I fully expect two of those teams will be SEC schools, and many snobs in the South will cry they deserve three, maybe all four! Heck why not just have a 4-team SEC tournament and the rest of America can watch in awe. It’s a vicious cycle that will only end when teams that get a crack at the SEC pop them in the mouth. The curse can be lifted starting January 7th with Notre Dame. If they aren’t as good as Alabama, just be as lucky.