Gator fans, settle down. But now that I have your attention, put down that phone and wait a few days before making travel plans to Miami.
You might end up in New Orleans - even if Florida beats Alabama.
Just as the BCS gets past the first huge controversy of the year, with the standings ordaining a Big 12 title game berth for Oklahoma over Texas, the second, and potentially the mother of all BCS controversies is looming: The possibility of an all-Big 12 BCS championship game, leaving the SEC champion in the dust (or on Bourbon Street, come to think of it, there are worse consolation prizes).
If Alabama wins the SEC title game, the Tide will be in the BCS championship game. No doubt there. It's a slam dunk. If Oklahoma blows the Big 12 title game, it'll be Texas vs. the SEC winner in Miami - also a no-brainer.
It gets tricky if Florida and Oklahoma both win. On the surface, it should set up a Gators-Sooners BCS title showdown. But as Lee Corso would say: "Not so fast, my friend!"
There is a remote chance, let's put it at less than 5 percent, that Oklahoma could be jumped by Texas even if it wins the Big 12 title game. If there's more voter movement in the polls in Texas' favor and at the expense of Oklahoma, the Sooners could end up winning the Big 12 title and get shipped to the Fiesta Bowl. Especially if OU registers a lackluster win, as juxtaposed against Texas' 56-31 rout of Missouri back in October.
But that's nothing should Florida get left out of the BCS title game even after beating Alabama.
At this point, the Gators are not guaranteed anything - other than a BCS bowl berth - if they win the SEC title game. If they finish No. 1 in both the coaches and Harris polls AND receive the majority of the first-place votes, then they can breath easy. But if Florida finishes second or even third both polls, it's dead.
A win over the Tide will help the Gators' computer rankings, but it's unlikely to put them ahead of either UT or OU in the computer scores. So if the voters split their votes three ways among Texas, Oklahoma and Florida, then the Gators will be the odd team out.
Further, while Florida still has a shot at the AP title - currently it's No. 2, ahead of both OU and UT, the way the bowls are set up it might make winning a split title a bit trickier. Say the Gators beat 'Bama and ascend to No. 1 in the AP poll (fair assumption) but get left out of the BCS title game, their Sugar Bowl opponent would be, gulp, No. 13 Cincinnati?
How would that happen?
If the BCS title game becomes an All-Big 12 affair, then the Fiesta Bowl may very well pit unbeaten Utah against unbeaten Boise State, leaving the Sugar with either Alabama for a rematch or Cincinnati, the Big East champion. Depending on the outcome of the SEC title game, the Sugar may opt for Florida-Alabama II, but it could go with the Bearcats as well. There is no scenario for the Sugar to grab USC since the Trojans - assuming they defeat UCLA - are obligated to play in the Rose Bowl.
Yeah, like I said, we're just getting warmed up here. Are you ready for Armageddon?