Four team race for the SEC’s at-large BCS selection

Alabama remains as the country’s No. 1 team and front-runner for the national championship. The bigger question may be which other SEC team gets an at-large selection into the Sugar Bowl.

Related: How three different teams can win the SEC East

Four SEC teams have the resume through 11 weeks to gain an at-large selection. Auburn, Missouri, South Carolina and Texas A&M are all BCS hopefuls, with countless scenarios playing out in order to get there.

Alabama has to keep winning and ultimately play for the national championship, and if the Tide were to lose, the SEC would only likely receive one BCS bid as the automatic winner in the SEC Championship, assuming the one loss SEC Champion doesn’t play for the national title. That doesn’t look like it will happen through 11 weeks, although it’s still certainly possible.

Related: SEC Bowl Projections

Here’s the easiest path for each team to get to a BCS bowl, as each of the four fight to be the highest ranked team in the BCS before bowl selection:

SEC West

Auburn Tigers
BCS ranking: 7
Assuming Auburn beats Georgia and loses to Alabama, which neither are a given, the Tigers get the benefit over Texas A&M because they beat them head-to-head and they will have lost to Alabama first, before the eventual SEC East Champion. So a 10-2 Auburn team should be ranked higher than a 10-2 Texas A&M team if it comes to that. Both teams will have lost two games, one to Alabama, but the Tigers would have the head-to-head over the Aggies and should help lead to a higher ranking.

Texas A&M Aggies
BCS ranking: 11
If Texas A&M beats both LSU and Missouri, the Aggies will have beaten two BCS ranked teams in back-to-back weeks to close out the season. It’d be hard to argue not letting the Aggies into the BCS. Besides, we’re likely witnessing Johnny Manziel’s last few games, and his draw alone is very attractive for a BCS bowl. A 10-2 Texas A&M team could still be sitting behind a 10-2 Auburn, but it all depends on how the West shakes out down the stretch.

Related: Current BCS rankings

SEC East

Missouri Tigers
BCS ranking: 9
Missouri needs to win out and finish the regular season 11-1, and they would then represent the SEC East in Atlanta. Again, assuming Alabama goes undefeated, Missouri would be 11-2 and would have already beaten Ole Miss, a team that could be ranked next week, and a ranked Texas A&M team. Mizzou is currently ranked ahead of South Carolina and Texas A&M, and being the last to lose to Alabama in Atlanta could put them behind the eight ball. I actually think there’s a better chance for Mizzou to go BCS bowling if they don’t win the SEC East.

South Carolina Gamecocks
BCS Ranking: 10
Should South Carolina win the East, the Gamecocks will likely have another loss in Atlanta. The SEC East Champion will be behind the eight ball because they will have lost last, further lowering their BCS ranking. Like Missouri, South Carolina would benefit from not going to Atlanta more than it would getting beat and having three losses with respect to an at-large BCS bowl berth.

Photo Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

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