Alabama lost…the king is dead!

Wait, Clemson is the reigning king,  but it has never quite felt that way.

Alabama, to me, has claimed every national title since 2008 and is always the No. 1 team to beat, measure up to, dissect, fuss and generally fawn over.

And that’s what made Auburn’s 26-14 win over the top-spanked Tide so hugely significant.

It dropped Alabama from its No. 1 perch and weakened Alabama’s case as a playoff at-large candidate.

Disclaimer: no Alabama team is EVER out of the playoff until the selection committee says it is, but here’s what we know:

The SEC championship game winner, Georgia vs. Auburn, a rematch of a game Auburn won handily a few weeks ago, is in the Final Four.

Oklahoma is also in if it wins the Big 12 and so are the Clemson\Miami winner (ACC) and the Big Ten champion: definitely if that champion is Wisconsin.

Please do NOT make the argument for Alabama using the 2016 argument of Ohio State getting in as a non-champion. The committee took Ohio State instead of the Big Ten champion. The Big Ten got one bid.

The discussion here is whether the SEC deserves two bids, out of four, in a musical chairs format involving Power 5 champions.

That’s a much, much tougher argument now after watching Alabama’s performance against Auburn.

I really would have thought differently had Alabama rallied, in the final 10 minutes, to lose a close decision.

But that is not what happened. Alabama, which has been leaking oil for a couple of weeks, did not pass the eye test. Auburn was clearly the better team and that left us to evaluate Alabama now from a different prism: as an at-large bid.

The Crimson Tide entered the weekend with a No. 63 strength of schedule in the Sagarin Ratings. That’s the worst SOS among top-15 title contenders.

Because Mississippi State lost to Ole Miss on Thursday night, Alabama’s best win is now LSU, which lost at home to Troy.

Alabama’s loss, however, sets up a delicious Fiesta Bowl possibility against USC. (Update) Notre Dame’s loss, however, probably puts Alabama in the Orange Bowl but sets up a possible Fiesta Bowl between the Pac 12 and Big Ten. Hey, just like the Rose Bowl used to be! The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here.