Following Saturday night’s 29-24 upset defeat to Texas A&M, the Alabama Crimson Tide have dropped to No. 4 in the latest BCS standings, placing them behind still-undefeated Kansas State, Oregon and Notre Dame.
Although the loss takes Alabama out of the driver’s seat in terms of making it to a second consecutive BCS National Championship game appearance, it doesn’t spell the end to their season.
The Crimson Tide are still in control of their own destiny in winning the SEC West title — where they would face No. 5 Georgia in the SEC Championship game — barring an even more colossal defeat than the one to Texas A&M against struggling Auburn in two weeks.
Large and impressive wins against Western Carolina, Auburn and Georgia — assuming that Alabama makes it to the SEC Championship game — in the next three weeks can only help the Tide’s case in recovering lost ground in the BCS rankings. Despite the team being “exposed” against Texas A&M, one has to believe that if there is any team that can bounce back emphatically, it has to be the defending BCS National Champions.
It’s not as simple as just showing up their remaining opponents. Out of the three undefeated teams left that Alabama now finds itself behind in Kansas State, Oregon and Notre Dame, the Tide need at least two of those three teams to lose a game before season’s end.
It may sound like wishful thinking at this point for that to happen, but it is more likely than you may think. Let’s take a look at their remaining schedules:
No. 1 Kansas State Wildcats
11/17 @ Baylor (4-5)
12/1 vs. No. 15 Texas (8-2)
No. 2 Oregon Ducks
11/17 vs. No. 13 Stanford (8-2)
11/24 @ No. 16 Oregon State (7-2)
12/1 Pac-12 Championship game vs. No. 17 UCLA (8-2)/No. 18 USC (7-3) – assuming they make it
11/17 vs. Wake Forest (5-5)
11/24 @ No. 18 USC (7-3)
I won’t make any predictions or assumptions for these remaining matchups, but all three teams certainly have losable games left on their schedules.
It’s a stretch and deemed next to impossible by many experts, but impressive showings by Alabama could leapfrog them over Notre Dame, as the Irish have no conference championship game to play in that week.
In this case, Alabama may only need Kansas State or Oregon to fall. Don’t count on it, but keep it in the back of your mind.
At the end of the day, stranger things have happened in college football (Iowa State beats Oklahoma, anyone?) and Alabama undoubtedly still has a legitimate shot.