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Phillip's Lunchtime Musings, Nov. 23

Could Auburn, with a close loss to Alabama and a victory over South Carolina, still get into the BCS Championship Game? That seems to be the question a lot of people are asking.

Phillip Marshall, Senior Editor,

And it’s a legitimate question. Lots of people are picking Alabama to win the Iron Bowl on Friday, which really isn’t an outlandish prediction. Alabama has won 20 consecutive games at Bryant-Denny Stadium and remains loaded with talent.

So let’s say Auburn loses to Alabama on a last-second field goal and blows out South Carolina to win the SEC championship. Oregon, Boise State and TCU win out. What happens then?

I know what should happen. Auburn should play for the Oregon for the national championship. Would it happen? I suspect it would. Here’s why:

There are a good many voters who, clearly, recognize that Auburn’s schedule has been way more difficult than that any of the other unbeaten teams. Really, the team with the easiest road might have been Oregon. But, rightly or wrongly, the Ducks are going to stay No. 1 unless they lose.

I think a one-loss Auburn team would still be a favorite of the computers. And I think TCU and Boise would split the votes that didn’t go to Auburn for No. 2. As a result, I think the Tigers would be close enough in the polls that the computers would push them over the top.

On the other hand, if it doesn’t happen, it wouldn’t be like 2004. In 2004, Auburn did all it could and still was left out. If you lose a game, you didn’t do all you could.

The best plan for the Tigers, of course, is to beat Alabama and South Carolina. If that happens, there’ll still be those who beat the drum for Boise and TCU, but there won’t be nearly enough. …

If I’m wrong I’ll readily admit it, but from all I can tell, I am convinced the Internet rumor that Auburn was caught up in FBI wiretaps of gambling magnate Milton McGregor is 100 percent message board trash. …

When are columnists, commentators and the like going to stop saying Cam Newton admitted to stealing a laptop while at Florida? He didn’t. He admitted to buying a laptop for a ridiculously low price that should have told him it was stolen. Whatever it takes to make a good story, I guess. …

The vote will be a lot closer than it would have been before the past three weeks, but I still expect Newton to win the Heisman Trophy by a comfortable margin. …

You have to give Tennessee coach Derek Dooley and his players credit. They seemed headed for eight or nine losses this season. Instead, if they can beat Kentucky on Saturday they’ll finish the regular season with four straight wins and be bowl eligible. …

The open dislike Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen expresses for Ole Miss and even Rebel coach Houston Nutt is classless and childish. …

Those who should know say Mark Richt will definitely return to Georgia next season. That’s as it should be. The only SEC coach who seems to be in any danger is first-year Vanderbilt coach Robbie Caldwell. Of course, a combination of Vince Lombardi and Knute Rockne couldn’t win with Vanderbilt’s players. …

If I was voting in the poll, this would be my top 10 this week:

1. Auburn

2. Oregon

3. Wisconsin

4. LSU

5. Stanford

6. Ohio State

7. TCU

8. Boise State

9. Alabama

10, Oklahoma State

Until next time. …

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