Alabama‘s hopes of returning to a third consecutive BCS National Championship were severely damaged Saturday at Auburn, but they weren’t killed. The loss sent the Crimson Tide down to No. 4 in the BCS standings and vaulted the Tigers to No. 3. If Auburn beats No. 5 Missouri in the SEC title game Saturday and No. 1 Florida State and No. 2 Ohio State lose in their conference championship games, there could be an Iron Bowl rematch in the BCS title game.
The Seminoles play No. 20 Duke in Saturday’s ACC Championship. A Blue Devils’ victory would be easily considered one of the biggest upsets in college football history. No. 2 Ohio State plays No. 10 Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship, a game that could go either way.
One loss by either of these teams will put the SEC champion into the BCS title game. Even though Missouri is ranked behind Alabama, it would presumably leapfrog the idle Crimson Tide if it’s able to beat Auburn.
It’s highly unlikely that Alabama gets a chance to play for a third-straight national championship, but A.J. McCarron and the rest of Alabama’s seniors will almost assuredly play in their final game at a BCS bowl. The Crimson Tide and the SEC Championship winner will be the lone SEC teams with one loss, and Alabama won’t finish lower than fourth in the final BCS standings.
That means the Tide will likely go to the Orange Bowl, which receives the first selection for at-large teams among the other bowls, where they could face Clemson. If Auburn or Missouri land in the BCS National Championship, the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans could also be a possibility for Alabama.