Okay. This is pure speculation but that is what we do here at Mr. College Football. Consider this:
If No. 2 Auburn beats Alabama on Friday and then beats South Carolina in the SEC championship on Dec. 4, then things are pretty simple: The Tigers will be 13-0 and will play somebody—probably Oregon—for the BCS national championship on Jan. 10 in Glendale, Ariz.
But what happens if Auburn LOSES to Alabama and then wins the SEC championship to finish 12-1? That leads me to two more questions:
Question No. 1: Can Auburn, at 12-1, get into the BCS championship game ahead of 12-0 Boise State or 12-0 TCU?
Question No. 2: Will the ongoing NCAA investigation into the recruitment of Cameron Newton and the uncertainty that comes with it have any effect on the voters in the human polls?
Let’s look at Question No. 1: I think the answer is yes. The key is how far Auburn falls in the BCS Standings if it loses to Alabama. My belief is that if the game is competitive and Auburn loses close, then the Tigers will drop to no worse that No. 4 (ahead of No. 5 LSU). In that sense Auburn really needs for LSU to beat Arkansas (in Little Rock) and stay at No. 5 because the poll voters probably won’t drop them below a team they beat head-to-head (24-17). Auburn is very strong in the computers (No. 1 in five of the six computers). TCU does not play on Dec. 4 while Boise is playing Utah State (4-7).
So if Auburn wins the SEC championship, I think they can jump from No. 4 to No. 2 in the final BCS poll on Dec. 5.
Question No. 2 is more intriguing. My own belief is that absent a smoking gun, you can’t let the investigation impact the way you vote in the polls. It should be based upon play on the field until there is solid evidence that Auburn or Cameron Newton broke the rules. But human beings vote in the polls. By definition they are subjective.
If the choice is among 12-1 Auburn, 12-0 Boise State and 12-0 TCU for a No. 2 vote, who do the pollsters choose? Do they take a one-loss team from the conference that has won four straight national championships? Or do they use the controversy surrounding Newton as an excuse to give one of the little guys a chance?
I’m just asking the questions.
Now if Auburn loses to Alabama AND loses to South Carolina, that opens up another whole can of worms. Then I’ve got the LSU people calling me and saying: “Why not us at 11-1?”
We’ll cross that bridge if we come to it.
My advice to Auburn: Win both games and leave no doubt.
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