After this past weekend’s shocking end to the Iron Bowl, the Alabama football team must watch on “Championship Weekend” as their fate is decided under no control of their own. The question many fans have been asking is, where Alabama goes from here?
The 11-1 fourth ranked Crimson Tide are almost guaranteed a BCS bowl of some sort and all of the BCS games are still an option, some more likely than others. Taking a look at all of those options could give you a migraine, so allow us to help.
This is the most likely scenario of all the possibilities. If Ohio State, Florida State and Auburn all win their games this weekend it will likely be Florida State vs. Ohio State or Auburn. If Ohio State goes to the BCS Championship, then Auburn heads to the Sugar Bowl. If Auburn gets the BCS National Championship opportunity then Ohio State will head to the Fiesta Bowl.
With Florida State more than likely in the BCS Championship, then the Orange Bowl gets to pick a replacement if Clemson falls out of the top 14 because of its ACC Champion tie-ins, and it would more than likely snatch Alabama up right off the bat. Then, the question remains who does Alabama face? If Clemson remains in the top 14 then they will get the Orange Bowl bid as the only ACC team in the top 14 other than FSU.
The Orange Bowl also gets the first “at large” selection, so it will likely come down to the ACC’s Clemson to keep the ACC tie-in or a more of a long shot, Oregon in a matchup that many people would love to see. Clemson got beat by South Carolina this past weekend and Oregon hasn’t exactly been lighting it up the past few weeks either, so neither is that “sexy” of a pick, but the matchup definitely is intriguing.
This is where things could get interesting for the Tide. If Auburn wins the SEC Championship, they very well could jump Ohio State, regardless of the outcome of its game with Michigan State. In that case the Sugar Bowl will once again be without the SEC Champion.
If Missouri beats Auburn and Ohio State loses, then Missouri would likely jump up to No. 2 to play Florida State in the BCS Championship. Even in that scenario the Sugar Bowl losses its SEC Champion.
If Clemson remains in the top 14, they go to the Orange Bowl and the Sugar Bowl will likely take Alabama as its replacement for the SEC Champions if the champion, whoever it is, leapfrogs up to the BCS National Championship.
If the SEC Champion doesn’t get into the top two, then whoever that is will be in the Sugar Bowl, but there is still a small chance Alabama could be there as well. That scenario would require the Orange Bowl passing Alabama up with its “at large selection” and in that scenario, the Sugar Bowl would definitely jump at an Iron Bowl rematch or even a Missouri vs. Alabama match up. Those are both long shots however.
To even make their chances better, if Northern Illinois losses the MAC Championship this weekend, then it would disqualify them from being in a BCS bowl. If it came down to the Sugar Bowl selecting Alabama or the AAC Champion (likely Central Florida), they would obviously choose Alabama.
If Ohio State beats Michigan State, MSU could fall out of the top 14 and Ohio State remains No. 2. There would then be no other Big 10 teams that are BCS eligible. That would mean the Rose Bowl must select a replacement team, and if Alabama is still a possibility – meaning either the Orange Bowl or Sugar don’t need a replacement team or pass Alabama up – then they would likely choose Alabama to face the Pac 10 Champion, which will be either Stanford or Arizona State.
Oklahoma State, Baylor or Texas are definitely going to take one spot in the Fiesta Bowl as the Big XII Champion. The Big XII Champion will then face the Fiesta Bowl’s at large selection which will most likely be Northern Illinois or the AAC Champion (Cincinnati or Central Florida). Alabama has a very, very small chance here if the Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl, and Rose Bowls pass them up in either their replacement or at large selections. Again, that is probably the least likely of any scenario, except maybe the folowing.
BCS National Championship
This is the long shot of all long shots. There is really only one chance of this happening, and that would be both Ohio State and Florida State falling in their final games. Ohio State could very well lose to Michigan State, so that is not very farfetched, but Florida State would have to fall to Duke in the ACC Championship. That’s about as likely as Alabama losing the Iron Bowl on a missed field goal that gets returned 100 yards…
If that happened, the SEC Champions – whether it be Auburn or Missouri – would automatically be put into the game and then Alabama, as the No. 4 team in the country, would likely get that second bid into the title game, making the collective heads of the college football world explode. If Florida State wins and Ohio State falls, then the SEC Champion is in to face FSU, and the same scenario happens in the unlikely chance that FSU falls and Ohio State wins.
The most likely of all of these scenarios is that Alabama ends up in the Orange Bowl against Clemson or Oregon or in the Sugar Bowl against Auburn/Missouri or Central Florida/Northern Illinois.