Bama Loss Could Create Wild West Finish
The Aggies’ 41-38 upset of then-No. 1 Alabama on Seth Small’s field goal opened the door for the Crimson Tide’s division rivals. It’s not just a parade of teams lining up neatly behind ’Bama any more.
While Alabama (5-1, 2-1) seems to remain the team to beat and a playoff contender, it won’t be a weekly cakewalk for the Tide.
Coach Nick Saban had already warned his team of the potential pitfalls.
“He said it before it even happened that we were gonna get hit in the mouth if we prepared the way we were preparing,” Alabama defensive lineman DJ Dale said.
Four SEC West teams are deadlocked with one league loss. Auburn, Mississippi State and No. 13 Mississippi are all 1-1 in SEC games.
And the aura of invincibility around Alabama has been knocked off, at least temporarily.
This weekend will provide another shakeup, one way or another. Mississippi State found itself in a better spot in the league standings after an open date, but coach Mike Leach doesn’t put much stock in Alabama losing to an unranked team.
The Bulldogs host the now fifth-ranked Tide on Saturday.
“The rankings are all out of whack,” Leach told reporters. “Anybody that thinks there are 30 teams better than Texas A&M is out of their minds. Someday when I am in your position I’ll go right down the list and tell you which ones.
“You had two good teams play, and the home team won. John Wooden used to say, ‘Never be surprised when the home team wins.’”
Two of the three two-loss West teams are ranked: No. 21 Texas A&M and No. 17 Arkansas, set to host Auburn on Saturday.
The league’s only two unbeaten teams — No. 1 Georgia and No. 11 Kentucky — reside in the Eastern Division and also meet on Saturday.
But the West has the potential for more chaos with other teams gaining hope from the upset in College Station.
Ole Miss steps out of the division to face resurgent Tennessee after staying in that one-loss group with a 52-51 win over Arkansas. First things first.
“We’ll focus on that when the time comes but right now we’re just focusing on going 1-0 this week, and that’s it,” Rebels wide receiver Braylon Sanders said.
Auburn offensive lineman Keiondre Jones offered a similar response for his team.
“It’s eye-opening to see that everything is wide-open,” Jones said. “But yeah, 1-0 for us this week, 1-0 the week after that, the week after that.. Every day, that’s what we need to focus on right now.
“We’re looking at the bigger picture, but you have to go 1-0 every day to get to the big picture.”
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