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Does Alabama’s Late-Season Loss Cost them BCS Title?

John David Mercer-US PRESSWIRE

After a heart-wrenching 29-24 loss to Texas A&M that left the college football world stunned on Saturday, the No. 4 Alabama Crimson Tide are left on the outside looking in at the BCS title race.

The late-season defeat comes at just the wrong time as the 2012 campaign is coming to a close.  With two games left, the Crimson Tide might not be able to show their grit in the BCS championship game.

The loss to Texas A&M exposed some flaws in Alabama’s defense.  For the most part, their secondary is largely to blame, after giving up 29 points in a game decided by five points.  And their deficiencies at the cornerback positions were easy to interpret after losing six players from their national championship team last year.  Now, they don’t have the explosive finishers to disrupt an efficient passing offense, nor put enough pressure on a quarterback who can sling the ball downfield.  And it showed the week prior, when LSU racked up 435 yards –  the most yards in a game since head coach Nick Saban’s first year with Alabama in 2007 –  in a close 21-17 loss.

But, set with a blueprint to take advantage of Alabama’s defensive woes, Texas A&M came out firing on all cylinders after jumping out to a 20-0 lead before fans could even get settled into their seats.  Continuing to roll, Texas A&M tallied 418 yards of total offense which included 23 first downs to upset the top team in the nation.

And just like that, Alabama’s chances of defending their national championship took a big blow.  According to ESPN’s Brad Edwards, Alabama is now projected to play in the Outback Bowl, while ESPN’s Mark Schlabach has the Crimson Tide contending in AT&T’s Cotton Bowl.

In whatever bowl they do play in, it’s a big step down from the national championship, and a loss in which will be a stark reminder of how razor-thin the margin of error is for a team who led the BCS standings for the last 10 consecutive weeks.

Now, barring any epic collapses on the part of No. 1 Oregon or No. Kansas State, Alabama is in for a rude awakening sitting at No. 4 looking up.

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