Bama still has to beat Auburn, UGA

A few weeks ago, I made the argument that Alabama had to finish its season undefeated to make the national championship game. And, not long after, when Texas A&M beat the Tide at home, I found myself noting how that pretty much would do it for Alabama and the SEC’s national title hopes.

“What are the chances that at least two teams among Kansas State, Oregon and Notre Dame will lose in the next two weeks?” I thought. Well. It appears I may have placed a little too much confidence in some of those teams’ abilities.

Both the No. 1 Kansas State Wildcats and the No. 2 Oregon Ducks lost Saturday, the first time the top two BCS teams have gone down in the same weekend since it happened to Missouri and West Virginia in 2007.

With their losses, Alabama is No. 2 in the nation, and finds itself squarely back in the national title picture. All the Tide has to do now is win against the measly Auburn Tigers and pull out a win against the Bulldogs in Atlanta, Ga., in the SEC Championship. Needless to say, somebody out there is looking out for the Tide.

However, with that said, I now make this statement. Much like the last time I spoke out on Alabama’s title hopes, the Tide has to finish the rest of the season undefeated. This time, there is no second chance for the Alabama faithful if the Tide should lose.

Of course, some people will say Alabama is practically guaranteed a spot in the national title game in Miami. However, that’s exactly the kind of thinking that nearly put Alabama out of the national title picture.

Alabama can’t afford to think it’ll win the remainder of its games simply by showing up. With all due respect to Johnny Manziel and the rest of the Aggies, if the Crimson Tide had played up to its standard the entirety of the game against A&M, Alabama wouldn’t be the No. 2 team in the nation – it’d be at the top of the polls.

Auburn is experiencing one of their worst seasons of the new millennium, but the Tigers do have some intangibles going in their favor in the latest addition of the Iron Bowl.

First and foremost, the Tigers have absolutely nothing to lose in the Iron Bowl, where Alabama has everything to lose. Not only will that put additional pressure on Alabama, but expect Auburn to throw just about everything at Alabama in order to pull out a win, kitchen sink included.

Even after the Iron Bowl, Alabama will have to travel to Atlanta, basically Georgia’s backyard, to play the Bulldogs in the SEC Championship. Not only will the Bulldogs also be vying for their own spot in the national title game, with Georgia coming at No. 3 in the nation, but with play-makers like Aaron Murray, Jarvis Jones and Bacarri Rambo, the Bulldogs are as dangerous a team in the SEC, someone the Tide can’t look past on its way to the national title.

Alabama’s been given a second chance. Now, the Tide has an opportunity to seal itself as the luckiest team in the BCS era by winning out, or to prove it doesn’t belong in the BCS Championship by losing either to Auburn or Georgia. And this time, there won’t be another chance for the Tide.

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