Tide’s championship hopes increase dramatically

Jason Galloway

Alabama’s national championship hopes got significantly stronger over the weekend, even though its 23-10 victory over Ole Miss wasn’t the most impressive.

With Ohio State’s loss to Wisconsin and Nebraska’s loss to unranked Texas, two of the undefeated teams keeping Alabama from controlling its own destiny fell below the Tide in the rankings.

Right now, the Crimson Tide stands eighth in the first BCS poll released Sunday. The BCS poll uses rankings in major polls, as well as other factors such as strength of schedule to determine which two teams will play for the national championship in January.

The seven teams ahead of Alabama, in order, are Oklahoma, Oregon, Boise State, Auburn, TCU, LSU and Michigan State.

Most experts believe that if Alabama were to win out, the strength of schedule difference between the Tide and mid-majors Boise State and TCU would be enough to put Alabama ahead of those undefeated teams by season’s end.

If the Tide were to win out, it would have to defeat and jump Auburn and LSU in the rankings.

That leaves just Oklahoma, Oregon and Michigan State. If two of those three teams lose before season’s end, and Alabama were to win out, the Tide’s chances of another trip to the BCS National Championship Game are extremely high. Refer to the checkbox list to see these teams’ toughest opponents remaining on their schedules.

Two more undefeated teams, No. 11 Missouri and No. 14 Oklahoma State, currently rank below one-loss Alabama. No. 1 Oklahoma must still play both of these teams, however, and Missouri still has another tough game against Nebraska. Alabama must worry about these teams jumping them with a 13-0 record, but it seems highly improbable that either will hold on that long.