Alabama’s loss to Auburn all but ensures that the loser of the SEC championship game won’t receive a BCS at-large invitation.
The winner when No. 5 Missouri battles No. 3 Auburn at 3 p.m. Saturday in Atlanta is guaranteed a BCS berth and might get a shot at the BCS title game depending on how Ohio State fares against Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game and Florida State does against Duke in the ACC championship.
If Florida State and Ohio State both win, the Missouri-Auburn winner probably will head to the Sugar Bowl. The Crimson Tide — which has won three of the last four BCS titles, including two in a row — almost certainly will receive at at-large bid, probably to the Orange Bowl.
No more than two teams from any conference play in a BCS bowl. That means the loser between Missouri’s Tigers, who went 2-6 in conference a year ago in its first season in the SEC, and Auburn’s Tigers, who went winless in conference a year ago, probably won’t get a BCS berth.
By virtue of knocking off Texas A&M and reaching the SEC championship game, Missouri, 11-1, can’t drop below the Cotton Bowl (Jan. 3 in Arlington, Texas) in the SEC bowl pecking order.
The Capital One Bowl (Jan. 1 in Orlando) and Outback Bowl (Jan. 1 in Tampa) also remain possibilities.