Holohan: There’s hope, Auburn

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, November 12, 2014

By Sean Holohan

Don’t row too far away in those lifeboats just yet, Auburn fans, the ship may not have sunk.

I know what you’re thinking.

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An ugly, ugly loss to Texas A&M at home, how do we still have a chance to salvage the season?

This is the wild west known college football, that’s how.

Sure, a second, very sloppy loss at the hands of the Aggies could mean the death of any and all playoff and SEC title hopes, but hold on just a second.

If there is anything we have learned about the playoff committee up to this point, it’s that strength of schedule and quality wins means more than losses.

Look at a team like Marshall. Do we really think the committee cares they are undefeated if it was against cupcake teams?

The Tigers now sit in ninth place after their loss Saturday. But there is still hope to get back into the mix — at the very least the SEC title mix. They’ll need help — including rooting for the devil themselves in the Alabama Crimson Tide this weekend.

Here’s how the Tigers can find their way to a title.

The Tigers sit at a deceivingly comfortable third place in the SEC West standings. Ahead of them are Alabama and Mississippi State, in that order.

Well that works out nicely, huh?

The Tide and the Bulldogs play each other this weekend in Tuscaloosa.

First, and most imperative, in this process is for Alabama to beat Mississippi State Saturday. The Bulldogs beat Auburn handily earlier this season, and are sitting pretty at the top of the division and the national rankings. If Alabama can hand the Bulldogs their first loss of the season, that would certainly set the machine in motion.

Next, Mississippi State needs to lose in the Egg Bowl.

A loss to Alabama alone would just mean that the Tide would own a one-loss tiebreaker over the Bulldogs in the division, which doesn’t help Auburn at all. If the Bulldogs lose to Ole Miss, that would give them two conference losses, knocking them down to a tie for second with Auburn and Ole Miss.

Finally, and if you’re an Auburn fan this is the sweetest step, the Tigers need to win in the Iron Bowl.

If Auburn defeats Alabama in Tuscaloosa, that would give Auburn, Mississippi, Mississippi State and Alabama all two losses in the conference, creating a four-way tie for first place. And according to experts smarter than me, that would actually give Auburn the edge in a tiebreaker to win the division.

Now, this is all very subject to change. After all, nothing is for certain in college football. There are so many steps in the equation.

But there’s still a chance.

And should Auburn go on to finish the season as a two-loss SEC champion, do you really think the selection committee wouldn’t put them in the playoff?

No way. If they win the SEC, Auburn fans can go ahead and pencil themselves into the playoffs.

See? There’s still a glimmer of hope, Auburn. It’s microscopic, but it’s there.