Column: SEC stands chance of monopolizing BCS Championship

By Mary Grace Showfety

The only predictable thing about college football is that it’s unpredictable. That’s what Nick Saban said this week in his news conference.

Saban said that teams are being awarded a bit more credit than they deserve at this point in the season, and we saw that over the weekend in particular.

In reality, there is not a college football fan out there that can dispute either of Saban’s statements. At this point, all signs point to our coach being dead-on.

Since 2008, the Tide has held the same (5-0) undefeated record, with a different ending to the story each time. So obviously the record is not the best way to predict the future.

But with all that has happened since the season began, the question looming in the minds of sports fans is, “Will it be another year for the SEC?” and “Can it be another all SEC BCS Championship?”

My answer is yes, absolutely and maybe.

After last year’s BCS Championship, the SEC was truly put under a microscope. Of course there were (and still are) those that were opposed to Alabama having a second shot at LSU, but it happened anyway.

I’m not one to count my chickens before they hatch, but it seems like it’s going to be another major year for the SEC.

Let’s take a quick look. Preseason No. 1 USC Trojans lost the spotlight in a 21-14 loss to Stanford. LSU is struggling offensively and suffered the loss to Florida. Oklahoma fell to Kansas State in week three. Oregon seems to be rolling but still has a few challenges in the coming weeks. South Carolina took all dignity away from Georgia last week, and Florida State lost a heartbreaker to NC State.

As for Michigan and Arkansas, they had the unfortunate circumstances of playing Alabama early. We all saw how that turned out.

That leaves three teams in the preseason top 10 that have held onto undefeated records: Alabama, Oregon and South Carolina. They have been joined by upstarts West Virginia, Kansas State, Oregon State, and more traditional powers Notre Dame, Ohio State, LSU and Florida.

Four SEC teams reside in the top 10 today, with three of them ranked in the top four. So the outlook is good for the SEC.

But Saban said it best: College football is unpredictable. And I think we all can agree, so is the SEC.

In the East, Florida and South Carolina face off in two weeks, and if that wasn’t enough, the Gators will also take on Georgia in a game that holds great historical meaning for both schools. If Georgia can re-evaluate and get back on track, this game may pose a threat to Florida as well. Oh, and South Carolina goes to LSU while Florida has to finish with FSU.

If the Tide runs the table and makes it to the SEC Championship game, it could face an undefeated South Carolina or Florida. The winner would advance to the BCS Championship game.

First things first. The way I see it, Alabama only has two more games with substantial competition: Mississippi State and LSU.

Considering Mississippi State has played the likes of Auburn, Troy and South Alabama thus far, it hasn’t been truly tested.

LSU is most likely a bit flustered after last week’s loss. But this game holds meaning. After all that went on between Alabama and LSU, it is sure to be a good game filled with great importance for both teams.

The truth of the matter is, though, this is not the same LSU team that we saw last year. It does not pose the same threat as it did last season.

Of course, no one should be discounted at this point in the game. Alabama is the defending national champion holding the No. 1 slot in both polls. Any and every team has made the Tide its target.

Back to that SEC Championship game. Let’s say South Carolina and Florida play a close game. The winner remains undefeated and advances to the SEC Championship. The loser could progress through the rest of the season with only one loss and maybe, just maybe, be in a position to take on the winner of the SEC Championship in the BCS Championship.

Remember though, the only thing that is predictable about college football is that it is unpredictable.

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