If the SEC is going to keep its national championship streak alive, the bulk of the weight will be on Alabama's shoulders.
In some ways, that’s probably fitting. The Crimson Tide have won the past two national titles and three of the past four, but they’re also the only SEC team in the top four of the first official BCS standings that were released Sunday night.
Alabama was No. 1, which wasn’t surprising considering the Tide have been No. 1 all season in the human polls. Florida State was No. 2 and Oregon was No. 3.
Other than Alabama, the only other unbeaten team in the SEC is Missouri, which was No. 5 in these first BCS standings. The Tigers, who’ve won over Florida and Georgia each of the past two weeks, weren’t even ranked to start the season.
They’re certainly in the picture in terms of playing their way into the BCS National Championship presented by Vizio, but they’re also going to need some help.
A few teams in front of Missouri, namely Ohio State and Oregon, would have to lose.
If those teams do happen to lose, the ideal scenario for Missouri would be to win out and then draw an unbeaten and No. 1 Alabama in the SEC championship game. A win over the two-time defending national champion Tide would carry considerable weight with the voters in the two human polls. One of the best things the Tigers have going for them is that the computers like them. Their computer rank is No. 3 this week, and they trail only Florida State and Alabama in that component of the BCS standings.
As for Alabama, the path to a third straight BCS title game appearance is pretty straightforward. The Crimson Tide just need to keep winning, and they’ll be there. It doesn’t matter what anybody else does or how impressive anybody else is around college football. An unbeaten Alabama team that wins the SEC championship is a lock to claim one of the top two spots in the final BCS standings.
But if it's not Alabama (or possibly Missouri), then it's not going to be anybody from the SEC on college football's grand stage this season. The third-highest SEC team in these first BCS standings was Auburn at No. 11, and the Tigers would simply have too many teams to climb over to get in position to play for the national championship.
Everybody else in the SEC is sitting there with at least two losses. LSU, South Carolina and Texas A&M were all upset on Saturday, dashing any chance they had of being a part of the national championship festivities.