Starting 11: SEC Still Alive For BCS Title
There are six teams still alive for the BCS title, I'll break down all six teams and their road to the title game below in the Starting 11, but if you're a fan of Kansas State, Oregon, Notre Dame, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida, your teams title chances are still pretty alive.
Everyone else is eliminated from BCS title contention.
In the wake of Alabama's loss to Texas A&M there was a knee jerk reaction from many who argued the SEC's title reign was over. But that's not necessarily true. There's still a pretty good chance that at least one SEC team plays for the title. And there's even a small chance that we still have an all SEC title game.
Let's dive in to the Starting 11 and I'll explain how. But, first, we begin with our old friend the UT fan and his reaction to the Mizzou loss:
1. The Derek Dooley era is officially over.
So these melt downs from the UT fan with the UT bedspread and power T sheets will become fewer and fewer.
This guy is real.
(Warning, there is lots of cursing).
2. The SEC has six of the top nine teams in the most recent BCS standing.
This is not getting enough attention.
It's a feat that is almost impossible to manage. In fact, I'm not sure that any conference will ever be able to do this again.
This level of dominance should count for something when it comes to playing for the BCS title.
Do you know how many home games the top six teams in the SEC have lost all year? Three. (A&M lost at home to Florida and LSU. Bama just lost at home at Texas A&M). The only losses these six teams have?
To each other.
Would Kansas State, Oregon, or Notre Dame be undefeated in the SEC this year?
In fact, Notre Dame would have four losses already if it had played Florida's schedule. (By the way, the fact that the computers aren't allowed to factor in margin of victory is the only reason the computers like the Irish at all).
So why should Kansas State, Oregon, and Notre Dame all be rewarded for not playing against the best competition?
Now let's dive in to the title contenders.
3. Oregon's route to the title is simple.
All Oregon has to do is win. But the Duck road is fraught with peril. Stanford and then on the road at hated rival Oregon State. Then the Pac 12 title game. There's a pretty decent chance the Ducks stumble. Now, I don't think they'll lose -- and I actually believe that the Ducks are the second best team in the country -- but given the caliber of the opponent in these final three games it's more likely than not that the Ducks will lose.
But if Oregon is 13-0 there is a 100% chance the Ducks are playing for the BCS title.
4. Kansas State just has to keep winning.
Kansas State has the easiest path to the BCS title game. All the Wildcats have to do is beat Baylor and then they have two weeks to prepare for the regular season finale against Texas. That game comes on December 1 in Manhattan, Kansas.
If Kansas State is 12-0 there is a 100% chance the Wildcats are playing for the BCS title.
The SEC's best ally in keeping that from happening?
Oh the irony.
5. Notre Dame has to win and hope it's not leaped by the SEC champ.
No one is talking about this, but I think there's a decent chance that Alabama or Georgia slingshot past the Fighting Irish into the title game.
Of course, I don't think this will matter because I think the Fighting Irish will lose to USC. Think about this for a minute, the SEC needs Texas and Lane Kiffin to do its dirty work.
Put simply, I'm not sure that the Irish can do anything to play for the title this year. They're just not that good. And I think the country is becoming more aware of that each week. Remember when Notre Dame fans said Texas A&M had no shot against them?
Any reasonable person -- i.e. someone who is not a Notre Dame fan -- feel like the Irish are beating the Aggies on a neutral field if the game is played now?
I didn't think so.
6. Alabama has to win out and hope that Oregon or Kansas State lose.
Again, I think there's a decent chance that a 12-1 Alabama could leap undefeated Notre Dame in the final BCS standings. Especially, that is, if USC loses to UCLA and is just a 7-4 football team on the final week of the Irish season. (Although my top match-up at this point would be Alabama against Notre Dame because the Tide would win by two touchdowns or more).
Keep in mind that Oklahoma could still lose two of its final three games. If the Sooners finish 8-4 does that "signature" win look that strong? Even Stanford, which is Notre Dame's best win this year, could finish 8-4.
If all three of these things happened, then Notre Dame could finish the season 12-0 without a single BCS top 25 win.
And you're telling me that a 12-0 Irish team without a single signature win and several near miss losses against awful football teams should play for the title over an Alabama team that would be nearly a double digit favorite over them? Put simply, if the Tide finish 12-1, there's a very good chance Bama is playing in Miami to defend its title.
7. Georgia has to win out and hope that Oregon or Kansas State lose.
The Bulldogs aren't losing to Georgia Tech.
This means they will roll into Atlanta with an 11-1 record and an SEC title on the line against Alabama.
It would not shock me at all if Georgia upset Alabama.
Then the Bulldogs would have a decent shot at playing for the BCS title as well, since they would be the top team from the nation's best conference.
8. Florida is still alive for the title as well.
Yes, I know, the Gators haven't played very well, but they've played an absolutely brutal schedule -- five of the BCS top ten are on the Gator slate -- and Florida State looms on the final weekend of the year.
Florida already has three BCS top ten wins. That's three more than Oregon, Kansas State, and Notre Dame have combined. In fact, all three of these teams have zero top ten BCS wins.
If the Gators beat Florida State and finish 11-1 then here's what needs to happen for an SEC rematch.
Oregon, Kansas State, and Notre Dame all have to lose.
Then Florida would play the winnner of Alabama-Georgia for the BCS title.
This isn't even a very farfetched scenario.
9. Vandy has a really good shot at eight regular season wins and will go to a bowl game in back-to-back seasons for the first time in program history.
The Commodores have not managed this since 1982.
At 4-3 in the SEC, James Franklin has more SEC wins this year than Derek Dooley does in three years coaching the Vols.
If Vandy won eight regular season games this year and then grabbed a bowl win, nine wins would be the most for the Commodores since 1915.
Nearly a hundred years!
So, yeah, anyone want to doubt my James Franklin endorsement now? The guy is flat-out getting it done.
10. There is nothing better in sports than crushed Bama fans.
Here are two gifts from me to you.
First, Bama fan reaction shots as they realized they were going to lose at home to a two-touchdown underdog.
Warning, this is a Bama fan playing Call of Duty as the Tide loses.
Lots of cursing.
But it will make your day.
11. My SEC power rankings. (The top five is really hard to rank. But this is my best guess for who would win on neutral fields if the games were played right now).
4. Texas A&M
6. South Carolina
7. Notre Dame
8. Mississippi State
10. Ole Miss