Sunday, November 17, 2013
BCS: Auburn continues unlikely ascent
By Greg Ostendorf
Alabama was thought to be the SEC’s only hope to reach the VIZIO BCS National Championship Game, but while the Crimson Tide might have the best chance, don’t sleep on the team across the state.
Auburn moved up to No. 6 in the latest BCS standings after a dramatic come-from-behind victory against Georgia. The Tigers passed Stanford, which lost to USC on Saturday, but the bigger surprise was how close they are to No. 5 Oregon. They’re closing in on the Ducks, and a win in the Iron Bowl could solidify their spot as the best one-loss team in the nation.
Obviously, Auburn would still need some help even if Gus Malzahn’s bunch can find a way to upset Alabama, but crazier things have happened.
As for the Crimson Tide, they maintained the top spot in the BCS standings but their average dropped after a so-so performance on the road at Mississippi State. In fact, they are now tied with No. 2 Florida State in the computer rankings, though they still hold an advantage over the Seminoles in both the Harris poll and the coaches' poll.
Nick Saban shouldn’t be too concerned. His team still controls its own destiny in the BCS and is now three wins away from reaching its third consecutive national championship game.
Alabama and Auburn are joined in the top 10 by Missouri, but South Carolina dropped to No. 11 despite knocking off Florida in its final conference game. The reason for the slide was a result of Oklahoma State and its impressive performance against Texas. The Cowboys jumped two spots to No. 10, passing both South Carolina and Texas A&M along the way.
The SEC has a total of seven teams in the top 25 again this week. Georgia dropped out after the heartbreaking loss to Auburn, but the Bulldogs were replaced by an Ole Miss team that has won four straight games. The Rebels will host No. 8 Missouri on Saturday.
Ultimately, the one big thing still has to be Auburn’s turnaround this season. If Florida State, Ohio State, Baylor or Oregon falter this weekend, it could set up a top-five matchup in the Iron Bowl and give the Tigers even more to play for.