Johnny Manziel and Kevin Sumlin ought to remember that when somebody is nice enough to invite you to their party, you shouldn't go to their house breaking all the crystals and throwing furniture into the pool.
That, essentially is what Texas A&M just did to Alabama in particular and the SEC in general. The Aggies' upset victory at Bryant-Denny Stadium put their new conference perilously close to missing out on the BCS title game for the first time in seven years.
In Sunday night's BCS standings, there will not be an SEC team occupying either the No. 1 or No. 2 position - the first time that's been the case since the initial standings of the 2010 season, when Auburn was fourth, trailing Oklahoma, Oregon and Boise State. Of course, the Tigers did go on and beat the Ducks for the BCS title that season.
Projected BCS standings, November 11:
- Kansas State
- Notre Dame
- South Carolina
- Texas A&M
- Florida State
The SEC might not make it back this season, as all of its members have at least one loss, whereas there are still three undefeated teams from other conferences (not counting bowl-ineligible Ohio State). Alabama's loss means now it needs help - and maybe a lot - to get back into the BCS title picture. If Kansas State and Oregon win their combined remaining five games, then the SEC is out.
Then there's the matter of Notre Dame.
The Fighting Irish are decidedly the third wheel at the moment, and there does not appear to be a path for them to get to the BCS title game absent a loss by either Oregon or Kansas State. For now, though, they'll hang on as a solid No. 3, in front of a sextet of SEC teams.
Now, does any of the SEC teams have a shot?
Frankly, it's down to just Alabama and Georgia. Florida might have pulled off a dramatic win on Saturday ... but it was at home against Louisiana-Lafayette, which will not earn the Gators any style points. And now that they're shut out of the SEC championship game, the best they can hope for is a BCS bowl berth. A non-division winner in the SEC is not going to the BCS title game this time around.
The winner of the Alabama-Georgia SEC championship game effectively will be the next in line after the three unbeaten teams. If two of those three teams lose one of their remaining games, then a one-loss SEC champ will get to the BCS title game through the backdoor.
The SEC's shrewd scheduling - front-loading conference games in September to tee up front-runners and dictate a narrative - actually now works against its member teams. Alabama (Western Carolina), Georgia (Georgia Southern) and Florida (Jacksonville State) are all playing FCS teams next week and will have no chance of improving their BCS positions without the unbeatens losing.
So most likely we're looking at a Kansas State-Oregon BCS title game in Miami. And for now the exact positions of Nos. 1 and 2 are irrelevant since both teams will have sizable leads on Notre Dame. Except this: The Fiesta Bowl and Rose Bowl will both want a shot at the Irish, even with a loss, so who finishes No. 1 is of vital importance to the guys in blazers.
Non-AQ watch: We resurrect this report even though Boise State's loss was supposed to keep all the riff-raff out of BCS bowls this season, but then pesky Louisiana Tech just won't go away.
You might remember Tech, who nearly knocked off Johnny Football in a 59-57 thriller at Shreveport for its only loss of the season. The Bulldogs have scored at least 44 points in every game but one in running their record to 9-1 with games against Utah State and San Jose State (and neither is a chump) remaining.
La. Tech is projected to be at about No. 18 to 19 in this week's BCS standings, but the past weekend's result is a bit of a mixed bag for its BCS bowl hopes. Louisville's loss makes it possible that the Bulldogs only need to finish in the top 16 to qualify, though the Cardinals, despite a desultory defeat against lowly Syracuse, are still expected to be about a spot ahead of LA Tech.
But the luck of the 'Huskers is making things less promising for the Bulldogs. For the second week in a row, questionable officiating helped Nebraska to stay on track to play in the Big Ten title game, and now it's expected to rise into the top 15. If the Huskers continue to win, and since Louisville faces Rutgers at the end of the season for the Big East title, La. Tech might have to get into the top 12 to automatically qualify for a BCS bowl berth - which would be mission impossible.
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