Guerry Clegg Commentary: Tide should leave nothing to chance

November 5, 2013 

Alabama has won three of the last four national championships, is undefeated and is getting better every week.

By January, this might prove to be Nick Saban's best team ever.

And yet …

What if the unthinkable happens?

What if Florida State and Oregon BOTH jump over Alabama in the BCS standings?

What if this really is Saban's best team ever, and it doesn't even get to play for the national championship?

No, that's not likely. But neither is it impossible. Here's why.

The BCS formula comprises three elements -- the coaches' poll, the Harris interactive poll, and a compilation of computer rankings.

You would think Bama's hold on the No. 1 ranking would be secure.

But there's a growing number of people who believe that Florida State and Oregon are both better than the Crimson Tide.

Do I buy it? Not a bit. But my view is biased. I've seen Alabama in person.

I haven't seen Florida State or Oregon. Besides, I don't have a vote.

But those who do vote -- either coaches or the Harris electorates -- might see it differently.

And before anyone labels such people idiots for thinking as such, remember. Their vote is their opinion.

It wouldn't be fair to any undefeated team -- no, not even Ohio State and Baylor -- to at least give those teams consideration.

Who in these parts can forget 2004? Auburn did everything it could possibly do.

The Tigers ran the table in the SEC, which included beating Tennessee twice.

But because Southern Cal and Oklahoma also were undefeated, the voters didn't even consider the possibility that Auburn deserved a shot.

Oklahoma's embarrassing showing against Southern Cal in the championship game left many people believing Auburn would have put up a better fight.

Maybe, maybe not. There's no way we will ever know.

But the fact that the voters were not even open to the possibility was the real injustice.

Again, don't misunderstand. To me, it's clear. Alabama is the best team in college football.

But if I were a voter, I'd owe it to all the undefeated teams to at least give them more than a cursory look.

What I would see is a Florida State team that has scored more than 40 points every single game this season.

I would see a Seminoles team that beat the two best teams on their schedule, Clemson and Miami -- both of which were ranked in the top 10 at the time -- by a combined score of 92-28.

Yet, as good as the Seminoles' offense is, their defense might be even better.

Boston College scored 34 points on them. No one else has scored more than 17.

To finish undefeated, FSU will have beaten Florida and Miami again.

I would also see an Oregon team posting similar numbers.

The Ducks have failed to score 50 points only twice.

Only two opponents (Washington with 24, Washington State with 38) scored more than 20 on the Ducks.

I would also see unimpressive records in the SEC. Yes, I did write just two weeks ago that this is the result of SEC teams beating up on each other. I still believe that. But any voter with integrity would have to examine the evidence.

Here's an entirely plausible scenario. Missouri loses to Texas A&M. Then, aside from Alabama, no SEC team would have fewer than two losses. Therefore, Alabama could be the only SEC team ranked in the top 10.

Throw in this twist. Georgia beats Auburn, Ole Miss beats Missouri, Texas A&M loses to LSU, South Carolina loses to Clemson.

Then, every SEC team other than Bama would have three losses.

There's another factor that could come into play. There's growing resentment across college football toward the SEC's dominance.

Some voters, even coaches, might be looking for any opportunity to justify voting for some other teams.

So what's Bama to do? The Tide needs to blow out LSU and Auburn. They need to leave nothing to chance.

-- Guerry Clegg is an independent correspondent. You can write to him at sports@ledger-enquirer.com

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