I wrote yesterday afternoon that we did not need the fates to take a last-minute turn, and what happened? The fates did a 180-degree spin and gave us the finger. Oklahoma State upending Oklahoma would have been one thing, but the biggest win in school history and an absolute annihilation for the biggest Pokes win in the history of Bedlam? Completely unfathomable. And making matters worse, Clemson annihilated Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Game. In short, everything that could have gone wrong for Alabama went wrong in the worst way even theoretically possible.
The "good" news, if there is any, is that the Virginia Tech loss is probably harmless in the ultimate picture because Oklahoma State would have undoubtedly leapfrogged them in every ballot based on the strength of their performance in Stillwater even if the Hokies had knocked off Clemson. Even so, that means Oklahoma State is going to move up the polls like gangbusters, and now it will be no surprise if they overtook us in the final BCS standings; hell, a lot of people even expect it. Bottom line: Not a single calculation or prognostication by anyone in the country even remotely anticipated such an epic beatdown in Bedlam. This is exactly what the Pokes needed to do to have a massive last-second swing in both human and computer polls to leapfrog Alabama.
For what it's worth, ESPN has done everything within their power to cast a rematch between Alabama and LSU as an inevitability, and it's easy to see why given their massive financial stake in the outcome. A 'Bama v. LSU rematch is a viewership and ad revenue extravaganza, while LSU v. Oklahoma State is a ho-hum affair with a foregone conclusion, and the self-proclaimed leader in sports entertainment will do awful things to bring about the former. At least we have an ally in the biggest sports media conglomerate known to man, I suppose, but unfortunately at the end of the day it is simply not up to the talking heads at ESPN.
We'll see how things shake out tomorrow, and in the meantime it's going to be just a lot of nerves. The Coaches Poll will apparently be released at its normal time of approximately 12:30 Central, and when that comes out we'll have a good idea of exactly where we stand, for better or for worse. The Harris Poll typically comes out at about 2:30 Central, but it was not released until after the final BCS standings a year ago, and that is likely what will happen again this year. We won't know our ultimate fate until later tomorrow night, of course, but we'll have a good idea after the Coaches Poll is released. Remember, they key is not that we are ranked second above Oklahoma State -- and hell they might just jump us outright for all I know -- but how big of a margin we have over the Pokes. They don't need to pass us outright, they just need to cut into our hold on second just enough to let their lead in the computer polls take over.
How do you think it will turn out tomorrow night at 7:15? Vote in the poll below. Hope for the best.