This is by no means meant to belittle or downplay what Texas A&M did in impressive fashion in Tuscaloosa, beating the No. 1 team in the country 29-24, but there are much bigger issues in play here than the No. 15 Aggies securing their biggest victory during their short time in the SEC.
Mainly, did the new kids on the block succeed in doing what no other team in the country from any other conference has been able to do the past six seasons: knock the SEC off its BcS title perch?
At first blush, it very much appears to be that way. With the loss, Alabama falls — or will fall in the latter case — from both the ranks of the unbeaten and their season-long spot atop the polls. It also leaves the SEC without an unbeaten team this late in the season for the first time since 2007.
The loss also means that the SEC as a whole will find itself in a position Sunday night that it hasn’t been in but a couple of times during their six-year crystal run: needing help from the outside to push them into a seventh consecutive BcS title game. Based on the two individuals who I’ve spoken to who know the BcS formula as well as anyone in the country, it would be virtually impossible for Alabama — or one-loss Georgia for that matter if it were to run the table — to leapfrog Oregon, Kansas State and/or Notre Dame if all three remain undefeated.
“After A&M jumped out [to a 20-0 first-quarter lead], I started running scenarios where a one-loss Alabama could make the title game [if the other three remain unbeaten],” the BcS guru, who asked not to be named, told CFT. “I simply couldn’t find one.
“That doesn’t mean there’s not one, but it does mean it would take something unprecedented.”
In not so many words, that “something unprecedented” would be for the voters to place a one-loss SEC — whether that’s Alabama or Georgia — above Oregon, Kansas State or Notre Dame should that trio navigate the remainder of the season unscathed. Simply put, the Tide or Bulldogs will need at least two of the three unbeatens to lose in order to keep the SEC’s streak alive.
And, in a fit of irony that won’t be lost on many an individual, Texas A&M, added in large part to help the SEC’s financial bottom line, likely cost the conference something that matters more than dollars to the football-mad league: its streak of BcS titles.