And such a loss threatens all five.
Alabama still faces a run of three consecutive ranked opponents including Sabans ex-team, LSU, on Nov. 3 in Baton Rouge, where fans would just as soon hogtie Saban and throw him in a bayou. Bama also faces an SEC title game likely against South Carolina or Florida with the loser out of the BCS hunt.
Oregon also still faces three ranked opponents, including Southern Cal, there, on Nov. 3. The Ducks could end up having to beat USC twice, with a rematch for the Pac-12 championship possible.
South Carolina? Florida? Simple. They face each other Oct. 20 in The Swamp winner-take-all in terms of realistic hopes of reaching Miami.
West Virginia could have the easiest path left, with its only two remaining games against ranked foes (Kansas State, Oklahoma) both in Morgantown. The Mountaineers also benefit hugely that the Big 12 does not play a conference title game, leaving WVU unique among the top five in that it wont risk a final knockout game.
Alabama-Oregon remains the likeliest game we will get in Miami, but I cant help but hope for Bama versus Magic Genos West Virginia as the more riveting matchup. (Sorry, Gators fans.)
As for the Miami Hurricanes, well, someday have faith college footballs national championship talk will again include The U. How soon might be up to the NCAA as it weighs penalties over the Nevin Shapiro scandal.
UM fans should hope the NCAA rules as soon as possible so that this program can weather and move beyond whatever punishment is in store.
College football transitions from the BCS National Championship Game era to its long-awaited and newly approved four-team playoff starting in 2014-15.
Perhaps, realistically, that will also be around when the Canes are transitioning from their NCAA shackles to unencumbered brighter days.
UM fans can only keep eyes on that prize as they prepare to watch another team win a national championship in their own stadium in their own backyard.