With the initial BCS rankings for 2012 being released with Alabama and Florida sitting at No. 1 and 2, respectively, SEC haters across the nation are groaning a collective sigh at the possibility of another all-SEC Championship Game.
But how likely is it that these two could meet in Miami to play for it all come January 7? One might say that the chances are pretty slim, but there are a couple of legitimate scenarios that could make this a matchup a possibility.
One scenario is that Alabama and Florida would meet in the SEC Championship Game and then get a rematch in the Orange Bowl to play for it all. This would take something of the perfect storm of circumstances, but it’s not totally out of the question.
In fact, we’ve already seen some of the wind of that perfect storm blowing already in the first half of the season. Namely, the legitimate title contenders outside of the SEC keep losing. And those teams that are still unblemished have a hard road ahead.
Many of the sexy preseason picks to go to the national championship have already dropped a game and could potentially stumble again.
Florida State lost to North Carolina State and still has a trip to Virginia Tech before finishing the season against Florida.
Oklahoma lost to Kansas State and still has to face Notre Dame and has three tough road games at Iowa State, West Virginia and TCU.
USC lost to Stanford and still has games against Notre Dame, Arizona State and Oregon. Not to mention a probable rematch against either the Sun Devils or the Ducks if the Trojans make it to the Pac-12 Championship Game.
And of the unbeaten teams outside the SEC, tough schedules lay ahead for all of them.
Oregon is still perfect but still has to face an Arizona State team and USC on the road. Then they get Stanford at home before finishing up the season at Oregon State. And if they can get through that unscathed, or even possibly with one loss, they’ll still have the Pac-12 Championship Game. Two losses are certainly not out of the question for Oregon.
Notre Dame looks strong, but still has a tough schedule ahead with road games against Oklahoma and USC.
Finally, Kansas State has a very tough schedule in the second half of the season. None of their six remaining opponents are among the elite in college football this season, but they are all capable teams that could potentially hand the Wildcats a loss or two.
So what’s the point of all this? If none of these teams can run the table, and Alabama and Florida meet in the SEC Championship Game undefeated, there is a real chance that the BCS could keep them in the top two spots for a rematch in the Orange Bowl.
Another scenario would be for Florida to take a similar path to the national championship that LSU did last season. If Florida were to lose a close game to South Carolina next week, and South Carolina runs the table and puts up a fight against 'Bama in the SEC Championship Game, Florida may have enough time to sneak back up the rankings to the No. 2 spot by season’s end.
This, of course, would necessitate a laundry list of circumstances to come to fruition. But still, it’s not out of the question.
Again, the non-SEC title contenders, Oregon, Kansas State and Notre Dame especially, would have to stumble at some point—maybe more than once.
Florida would also have to hope that Georgia and Florida State would win out the rest of their games—with the obvious exception of against the Gators—for UF to have a couple more quality wins and keep getting love from the BCS computer polls.
So, in conclusion, what are the chances that Alabama and Florida could face off in the national championship game? In all honesty, probably not very good. There are just too many things that would have to fall into place for this to really happen.
But with the way these two are playing right now and the craziness going on around the rest of the country this season, it’s not impossible that we may have another all-SEC Championship Game in store for 2013. And wouldn’t we all just love that?!
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