BCS: Would Running the Table Be Enough for Auburn?

By Posted on: November 5th, 2013 in Featured Article, Football 25 Comments »
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If watching Auburn play Saturday night in Fayetteville with newfound swagger left you in doubt that this team had rebounded on the national stage, the media sure took notice for you. While the computers have loved us since the first month of the season, the voters have needed a little more convincing. The two saw eye-to-eye Sunday night and launched us into #9 in the BCS standings after hovering at 11 for two weeks. With the road to Atlanta and a SEC crown assured if we win out, the road to a BCS championship game appearance would be tough for a one-loss team seated where we are.  We’d virtually need another 2007 scenario to play out again where 2-loss LSU got in the BCS but let’s take a look at the field.

Obviously, we’ll need some teams ahead of us to lose. Some of them have big games remaining that should take care of that–like they were a SEC team. You forget that not all conferences have built-in competition year in, year out. Auburn will play a minimum of four teams that were ranked in the top 7 at some point this season before conference play started saddling them with losses. I don’t think any team in the nation can make that claim. Three of those are in our own division.

Biggest longshot to lose a game? Ohio State (#4) has the easiest run to the BCS with no more games against ranked opponents but needs two teams ahead of it stumble. Even so, their weak schedule could still keep them out of Pasadena by having a one-loss team jump them. Half the SEC could beat Urban’s legends of the Leader’s division and the Big 10 usually sucks when faced with SEC teams in bowl games. Expect the Buckeyes to land effortlessly in a BCS Bowl regardless.

Best bet to lose? Mizzou,(#8) which under our dream scenario would be dispatched by us in Atlanta provided they didn’t lose to Texas A&M on the last day of the regular season.  That loss might provide a 3-way tie in the east with Georgia and Carolina so there’s no telling who would represent the east. If you asked me who would give Auburn or Alabama the best game in Atlanta I’d say it would be Georgia. Wouldn’t a rematch with them be fun? Kudos to the third Tigers for second best improvement in the SEC this year but the road to a SEC crown will elude them for quite a while.

Best bet to keep on keeping on? Florida State ,(#2) which almost certainly will be re-jumped by Oregon this weekend if the Ducks beat Stanford, but FSU seems to have the easiest path of the top three teams. Florida shouldn’t prove to be much of a stumbling block for the Seminoles and Clemson won’t pop back up in the ACC title game because they’re in the same division. Coincidently, Miami will more than likely be the rematch in that contest but I wouldn’t expect the Canes to do anything other than to take a second half dive like they did this past weekend.

Baylor (#6) has a tough road ahead, with #10 Oklahoma, #25 Texas Tech, and #14 Oklahoma State in successive games, followed by TCU and Texas. If they ran that table, I’d look to them in Pasadena over Ohio State and any one-loss team, with the possible exception of us. While their overall schedule wouldn’t have been as tough as Auburn’s, the push of ranked opponents at the end would certainly garner enough media attention to get them votes. Very quietly the Big 12 is having a fantastic year.

Oregon (#3) and Stanford (#5) both have their season on the line this Saturday in Palo Alto. Each in the same division of the PAC12, the winner will play in the conference title game against probably Arizona State while the loser’s national title hopes will be dashed. Neither play any ranked opponents in the regular season after this game. A win by the Cardinal will make them the strongest one-loss team in the country until Auburn would beat Alabama. A win by the Ducks would make it tough for them to be unseated in the BCS championship.

In the damned no matter what you do role is #7 Clemson who might as well not even dare to dream.  Prevented from playing for the ACC title by the fact that they’re in the same division as FSU, the Tiger paws still have a season finale with #12 South Carolina that could prove to be fatal. There’s simply no scenario on earth that would lead Clemson into the BCS title game because even if everyone else lost, voters would remember that meltdown against FSU and just laugh at them. They may end up being the highest ranked ACC team at the end of the year but their season has been over since October 19th.

Of course none of these scenarios mean a thing to Auburn if we don’t win out. Six conference wins in a row is impressive, especially if the last one is the #1 ranked, two-time defending national champions. Even if Auburn managed this Herculean feat, the sentiment to have two teams NOT from the SEC in Pasadena would be tremendous and an abundance of undefeated teams could leave even a one-loss SEC champ out of the picture. Auburn was the first major conference team to go undefeated get left out of the BCS title game. Wouldn’t the college football gods have to be frowning to make us the last–here on the eave of the four team playoff next season? Auburn getting shafted in 2004 paid huge dividends for subsequent SEC teams to get the nod in BCS title games. It would come full circle if we were the beneficiaries of that ourselves.

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  1. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..My answer is that Auburn needs some convincing wins down the stretch. If we eeek by most or all of our last four games, we’ll get left out again. I remain convinced that Auburn got left out in 2004 mostly because we toyed around with Bama and Vol teams both down to their third-string quarterback.

    ……Auburn needs solid, double digit wins over UT and UGA, a win any way they can get it against Bama, then an absolute beat-down of somebody in Atlanta. Anything less won’t get us to the BCS title game.

  2. KungFuPanda9 KungFuPanda9 says:

    I am usually pretty optimistic about our chances in a game. But I don’t like the way the talking heads are outlining the BCS scenario. They have been saying a one-loss bama would have difficulty getting into the championship game this year if Oregon and Florida State win out.

    The unbeatens would have to lose a game. It is not likely Ohio State will lose, considering their schedule. Ditto Florida State. Oregon has a slight chance of losing to Stanford, and even less of a chance losing to Oregon State.

    Mizzou has to play Ole Miss and Texas A&M. They might lose both of those games, and I hope they do. I need Gary Pinkel to suffer a broken heart just one more year. I do not forget his remarks and attitude at SEC Media Days in 2012.

    So that leaves us on the outside looking in. But I don’t care about that as much as I would enjoy winning the SEC. That would be beyond spectacular. These kids deserve it, and Gus deserves it.

  3. KoolBell KoolBell says:

    The scenario that plays out for a one loss Auburn to make the BCS title game is so remote, that only us Auburn fans are dreaming it.
    Once again however, Auburn can set a precedence in college football, directly related to the playoffs that happen the next season. How? Did you say? They will have proven that an un-ranked team at the beginning of the season can play itself into the playoff system, and have an actual shot at a National Championship.
    That will give teams not given a chance by the media during the preseason, evidence that this can be accomplished. And that my friends, is what will make college football even better sports drama.

    Enjoyed the read WEA,
    WAR EAGLE!

  4. mikeautiger says:

    Even if we run the table if Oregon and FSU are undefeated I do not think Auburn will make it to the big show. And if some of the big items loose by a small margin and they may not fall below Auburn the way the media has their darlings. But, college football is college football and anything is possible and I think both of those teams can loose by enough that we slip in the door.

    Believe……believe….and we are on such a run who knows…….and if we don’t……we have a great set up to make a run next year, probably at top 5 start.

    War Eagle! Beat Bama but first take care of TN.

    PS And they laughed about the sign in the football building Beat Bama!

  5. sullivan013 sullivan013 says:

    I think both the human pollsters and the media are desperate for a non-SEC BCS title. Next year the playoff system will virtually assure that the top one or two SEC teams will blow away any pretenders to the title. This is the last year for anyone else to have a chance.

    Personally, going from 3-9 to the Sugar Bowl is one heck of an achievement for this team and coaching staff, and depending on who shows up from the East in the SEC Championship, we might just get there no matter what the outcome of the Iron Bowl.

    Sweet, as they say.

    • KoolBell KoolBell says:

      If I had said preseason, that Auburn would be going to either the Outback Bowl, or the Cap One Bowl, you would have laughed me to scorn. I like our chance at those two Bowl games.

      The Sugar Bowl is probably the best we can achieve. Still, keeping the last 5 BCS titles in the state of Alabama, with us having two of them would be glorious.

  6. domaucan1 domaucan1 says:

    WEA,

    Great fantasy article! As Coach Malzahn has saId repeatedly, the only game that REALLY matters is the one we play in Knoxville on Saturday. A BCS run would be great, BUT, our team has some big hurdles to jump in the next four weeks. Even a loss in all three games would be a mighty turnaround from last season. Let’s just enjoy the ride and let the chips fall wherever they fall. AND, NEVER FORGET:

    IT’S GREAT TO BE AN AUBURN TIGER !!!

    WAR EAGLE !!!

    GO BIG BLUE !!! (EVEN IN WHITE JERSEYS !!!)

  7. AUJTJarhead AUJTJarhead says:

    Gotta hope Stanford takes out Oregon Thursday night. That gives a “one loss team” credibility early in the mind of the voters. We run the table and it might be enough.

    Either way; It is GREAT to be an Auburn Tiger!

  8. CapnVegetto says:

    I’d love to see us make it, but I agree with most. We need some serious help to make it, even if we run the table, some people are going to have to lose. Had we won the LSU game, it would be a very different story, but as of now, we need a LOT of help.

    No matter. This has been one hell of a year, and with this staff, we are only going to get better.

    • Col.Angus Col.Angus says:

      If we had beaten LSU, we would be #2 in the country. The polls can’t decide whether they like Oregon or FSU better and the media would love to have an Alabama vs. Auburn 1 vs. 2 dream war.

      Of course so would I. All except for the stories on Cam, and bag men, and synthetic pot and everything else that would be dragged out of the basement to hate on Auburn. If we somehow beat Bama, the offseason may be bloodsport with all the crap they try to drudge up on us.

  9. Tigerstripe Tigerstripe says:

    Six weeks ago we were still arguing and projecting Auburn’s chances to be ‘bowl eligible’…Now we’re making the same arguments for a BCS title – I love it!!! Football is a funny game…

    Although it’s fun to banter and dream, I’m in the camp of there’s still too much football to be played and it would take a flow chart or Rain Man or MIT to figure out the possibilities only to have it change again this Thursday night… I like to look at football in segments (4 actually) and in the first section I put bama, FSU and Oregon as the top feeders – their destiny is in their hands and they should beat every opponent until the title game. Doesn’t mean that a level 2 (Auburn) can’t beat a level 1 – it just means ‘things are going to have to happen’ in order for it to, well…happen.

    This year, I think Auburn has climbed up each level to get where they are and the skies the limit. I have faith that each week going forward, Gus will turn to another page in his playbook and unleash Hell on opponents until their hearts explode. Okay, maybe not that graphic. I’m hopeful that by the 2nd qtr of the Iron Bowl, we will see bammers with their hands on their hips, leaning over and waving to the sidelines for replacements…and I’m talking about the fans.

    Unfortunately, we sort of gave up the right to argue for a title when we lost to LSU but at that point we were still arguing about bowl eligibility…If those above us take losses, you have to believe historically speaking we will get screwed AGAIN but that’s ok, we’re Auburn – we bounce back!

  10. Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

    Dudes, we’re #9 in the freakin’ BCS. One year after going an abysmal 3-9. Honestly, trying to hoe a road into the BCS MNC seems greedy and unappreciative of this team’s clear awesomeness.

    • AUTigerinBR says:

      TOTM, I am with you. Dudes! Let’s celebrate the heart and soul of these kids who have endured a whole bunch of terrible press and doubt and turned it around. I am absolutely amazed at what they have accomplished– from written off and pretty much branded as losers to ranked in the top 10 and thinking about a major bowl. (Actually I hope they are only thinking about TN today) That says so much about the people involved in the program this year– somehow they have been able to get everyone to dig in deep and go for it. When you think about the % of the players that were on the team last year it is a monumental change in attitude, behavior, and (hooray!) result.

      PS: KoolBell, love your post.

  11. AubieCE AubieCE says:

    It would take all but 1 of the undefeated teams losing and AU to win out to make it to the MNC game…
    AU is not anointed as O$U or Bama…
    Strange things happen in November…
    I am enjoying the ride for sure

  12. Fancey says:

    Little Auburn has no business being at #7 ahead of Auburn and Mizz.

    • WarEagleAtlanta WarEagleAtlanta says:

      Yes, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

    • Mike jimithing78 says:

      Clemson in the top 25 this late in the season is the only thing more unbelievable than Auburn being #9 already. Shouldn’t they have Clemsoned already??

      • Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

        1. pull a Clemson -
        The act whereby an overrated football team builds up a big winning streak and artificially high national ranking by beating up on inferior competition, only to lose a bunch of games and get killed by truly good teams at the end of the season, thus exposing them for what they truly are.
        “Clemson started off the 2011 season 8-0 and ranked as high as #6, only to ‘pull a Clemson’ and lose 4 of their last 5, get embarrassed by their rival South Carolina, and then give up the most points in bowl history to West Virginia in the Orange Bowl.”

  13. Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

    Mission #1. Beat the Vols.

  14. War_Eagle_2010 War_Eagle_2010 says:

    At this point my hope is to get to the Sugar, and my dream is an SEC championship. A BCS chamionship would be incredible though.

  15. domaucan1 domaucan1 says:

    For one second, think back to November 5, 2012 and imagine how miserable all of us felt. Our thought was “when will the misery end?” And it did end, miserably. Just enjoy the enormous effort and change of attitude this staff has instilled into our much maligned Auburn Tigers. They believe they can win and they have. All they need to do is beat Tennessee and then the rest will come. AND, AS ALWAYS:

    IT’S GREAT TO BE AN AUBURN TIGER !!!

    WAR EAGLE !!!

    GO BIG BLUE !!! (EVEN IN WHITE JERSEYS !!!)

  16. Col.Angus Col.Angus says:

    The bad thing about dreaming is that sometimes you get a rude awakening. I think there was a lot of dreaming prior to Arky last week and we almost fell out of bed.
    While it is great to fantasize about going to the BCS title game, and stranger things have happened, things would have to literally turn upside down for that to happen. Our biggest hurdle in getting to the title game, besides all the undefeated teams in front of us, is the scarlet 14 that hangs around our neck from the loss to LSU. Not all loss’ are equal, and a 14 point loss anywhere, is going to be tough to explain away regardless of the location or circumstances.
    If we somehow take out the two time defending steamroller that is Alabama, I think we should get a berth in the title game, simply because nobody else to this point has even managed to give them a competitive game outside of the reigning Heisman Trophy winner. In my eyes that should vault us into the Championship game if we win out. However, most folks outside of Auburn country probably can’t wait to see a champion from outside of Dixie, regardless of the inferior team that may make it (Ohio St).
    I’ll be happy regardless….I’m happy already, this team has gone WAY past the point I thought they would of, so everything from this point on is just sweet delicious gravy. Hopefully next year we will reload on defense and make significant enough strides there that we won’t have to put up 35+ points to win games.

  17. SandMountainTiger SandMountainTiger says:

    I really don’t think FSU or OSU will lose the rest of the year. No matter who we beat the rest of the year, or by how much, we lost one. I will not cry “scheduling” if we are left out of the conversation.