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Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Don't count SEC out of BCS title hunt

By Chris Low

The first BCS standings will be released Sunday night on ESPN, and it’s unlikely that an SEC team will be in the top 5.

ESPN’s Brad Edwards unveiled his projected BCS standings earlier this week, and LSU was the highest SEC team at No. 6. Auburn was No. 8 and Alabama No. 10.

Even though Boise State was No. 1 in Edwards’ projected BCS standings for this first week, he still thinks Oregon (No. 2) and Ohio State (No. 5) are in the best shape.

Don’t write off the SEC teams, either, even though they have some ground to make up this second half of the season.

For starters, if either Auburn or LSU were to run the table and win the SEC championship, I would just about guarantee that whichever team made it through unscathed and was sitting there at 13-0 would be one of the top two teams in the final BCS standings.

And that’s regardless of what Ohio State, Oregon, Nebraska, Oklahoma or Boise State does the rest of the way.

The SEC has won the last four national championships, meaning an unbeaten SEC champion would get enough love in the polls to move up and get one of those two spots in the BCS National Championship Game.

I simply don’t see another situation occurring similar to what happened to Auburn in 2004 when an unbeaten SEC champion was left out, not with the SEC dominating the national championship landscape the way it has the last few years.

As for a one-loss SEC champion making it, that’s going to be a tough road to navigate this season when you look at all the potential unbeaten teams.

Alabama would probably have the best chance simply because the Crimson Tide still get shots at both Auburn and LSU and lost early enough to make a move in the polls.

History has shown that SEC teams are quick climbers in the BCS standings. In fact, LSU was No. 12 in the initial BCS standings in 2003, but the Tigers went on to win the national title that season. That’s the lowest a team has been ranked in the initial BCS standings and gone on to play in the BCS National Championship Game.

Of the 24 schools to play in the BCS title game since its inception in 1998, 20 of them were in the top 5 in the initial BCS standings. Three of the four that weren’t, though, were SEC schools – LSU in 2003, Florida in 2006 and Florida in 2008.

So, again, don't count out the SEC.