Now It's Up To Tide Football Team

Nick Saban

Don't you love it when a plan comes together? True, losing to Texas A&M wasn't part of the original plan, but sometimes things don't go as expected, and then there must be adjustments.



Alabama defeating Western Carolina, 49-0, Saturday was part of it, but that was like finding a big red circle in a jigsaw puzzle that includes a red balloon.

No football coach has been born who hasn't uttered something along the lines of "We're concerned only with what we can control." Meanwhile, no Crimson Tide fan would ever believe that the power of positive thinking hasn't affected the outcomes of other games to make it possible for Bama to have a chance to win a national championship.

Following the Tide's loss to the Aggies just over a week ago, Alabama Coach Nick Saban pointed out that the three teams had led to national championships included two that had a loss. Following last week's games, the Tide was in contention with Georgia for fourth place in the BCS Standings. The Georgia problem, of course, does not require the wishes of the Bama Nation.

If Alabama can beat Auburn Saturday in Tuscaloosa, the Tide football team will have the opportunity to eliminate the Bulldogs in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game on December 1. That will be a battle of coaching wits between Saban and Georgia's Mark Richt.

Bama went into Saturday knowing that in order for the Tide to have a chance to return to the BCS National Championship Game, there had to be events outside the control of Saban and his football team. Three undefeated teams were ranked above the Tide and unless at least two of them lost, there was nothing Alabama could do in the national championship race.

There was all sorts of scheming. Oregon seemed to have the toughest road to an undefeated season with Stanford, Oregon State, and the presumed Pac-12 championship game. Kansas State had a road trip to Baylor and a home game against Texas. Notre Dame had Southern Cal.

Why would Alabama fans think they could control destiny? Because it has happened before.

At the end of the 1965 season, Bama had to have No. 1 Michigan State lose in the Rose Bowl and No. 2 Arkansas lose in the Cotton Bowl. That happened, and when the Tide defeated Nebraska in the Orange Bowl, the national championship trophy was headed to Tuscaloosa.

As the 1978 season was nearing completion, it looked as though Georgia would be the SEC representative against number one Penn State in the Sugar Bowl. All the Bulldogs had to do was beat a weak Auburn team. Some Tide fans didn't want to wish for an Auburn victory, even if it meant the opportunity for Bama to win a national championship. But it turned out that Auburn tying Georgia was good enough, and Alabama went on to win the national championship in the Goal Line Stand game.

Therefore, Alabama fans had reason to believe that two of the three undefeated teams would lose before the end of the year. What almost no one would have expected is that No. 1 Kansas State and No 2 Oregon would both lose at the first opportunity. The Wildcats were pulverized by Baylor, 52-24,and Oregon lost to Stanford in overtime, 17-14.

Now, it would probably be best if Notre Dame could defeat Southern Cal.

If Notre Dame finishes the season undefeated and a unanimous number one and Alabama can finish with wins over Auburn (2:30 p.m. CST on CBS) and Georgia, it will set up the most anticipated BCS National Championship Game ever. This year's title game is in Miami and television executives at ESPN are no doubt ecstatic over the possibility of a Notre Dame vs. Alabama game as compared to what had looked like a Kansas State vs. Oregon.

For that to happen, though, Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide football team have to handle things. Bama fans have done all they can do.

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