CHRIS DUFRESNE / ON COLLEGE FOOTBALL

A berth in BCS title game on the line, Auburn's AD starts lobbying

Don't blame Jay Jacobs for his spinning the situation to help the one-loss Tigers — blame the Bowl Championship Series system.

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Leave it to Alabama senior quarterback AJ McCarron to put everything in perspective.

"Football is just a game," he said after Saturday's last-play loss to Auburn. "It's not life."

Leave it to senior Auburn administrator Jay Jacobs to boil the Southeastern Conference down to the ruthless, political blood sport that it is.

Jacobs, the school's athletic director, told USA Today it would be a "disservice to the nation" if the SEC champion is left out of this season's Bowl Championship Series title game.

So there you have it.

It took only minutes after Auburn's incredible win over No. 1 Alabama to understand: The game would go down as an instant classic as it also struck a frontal blow to the SEC's winning its eighth straight BCS crown.

With no selection committee yet in place to sort out the subtle nuances separating conferences and schools, Jacobs knew he had to mount an immediate propaganda campaign for Auburn Nation's greater benefit.

This, in essence, is what has been so ugly-wrong about 16 years of the BCS. It's the fact that grown men would be put in the shameless positions of shilling their cases to a voting electorate.

Don't blame Jacobs for this — blame the system. He has no choice but to lobby for his school even if the argument is partisan, suspect and duplicitous.

The SEC, in its bylaws, simply cannot accept the fact it might not have a team in any BCS title game.

Brokers for the conference will not allow that the last BCS season may actually work out as it was intended.

If Florida State and Ohio State win this week, the system will be left with two undefeated major-conference champions playing for the national title.

There would no debate if not for the fact the teams ranked third, fourth and fifth in Sunday's BCS standings are all from the SEC.

The BCS top five are Florida State, Ohio State, Auburn, Alabama and Missouri.

Auburn had a better case in 2004 when it actually finished undefeated but ended up No. 3 behind USC and Oklahoma.

This Auburn team is not undefeated. It lost by 14 points to Louisiana State and needed a miracle tip play to beat unranked Georgia.

Auburn nearly lost its home opener to 6-6 Washington State.

Jacobs' argument is that the champion of the SEC, the nation's top conference, must be in the championship game.

He doesn't make the same argument for the champion of the Pac-12, considered the best or second-best conference this year.

Stanford, should it win the Pac-12, would have come closer to an undefeated season than Auburn.

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