According to some scientists, there are theories of alternate realities and multiple universes out there and all around us. Some have even hypothesized that there are near exact copies of ourselves in the ever-expanding space that is literally too big to comprehend.
With an estimated 100 billion galaxies around us, it's impossible to map the entire universe, so there's no telling what's really out there. If our universe can in fact produce copies of what we see today, well, then somewhere far, far away, the SEC championship game in Atlanta has a much different look and feel to it.
Thanks to some perfectly-timed miracle plays months apart, No. 2 Alabama (11-1, 7-1 SEC) and No. 18 Florida (10-2, 7-1) will meet here on our planet Earth this Saturday in the SEC title game. But what if those moments in history never occurred? What if Florida's Will Grier didn't deliver a perfect prayer to Antonio Callaway on fourth-and-14 that went for a game-winning, 63-yard touchdown against Tennessee? What if Arkansas' wild Hog-and-Ladder failed miserably against Ole Miss?
I'll tell you what would have happened: Tennessee and Ole Miss would be preparing for their unlikely meeting in Atlanta right now.
No one likes to deal in what-ifs, but in the universe we're talking about, those two points in the SEC season never occurred, so they aren't exactly dealing with what-ifs over there, now are they? To them, our way of SEC life this weekend will be weird and unsettling.
Think about it, though. Tennessee had absolutely no reason losing to Florida in late September up 13 with five minutes remaining. Then, almost a month to the day later in Oxford, Mississippi, Arkansas' Hunter Henry aimlessly (brilliantly) chucked a lateral backward on fourth-and-25 (in overtime!) that was scooped up by Alex Collins and returned 31 yards for the first down. Arkansas later scored a touchdown and won on a two-point conversion.
You're now looking at 10-2 Ole Miss and 9-3 Tennessee. Yes, everything else stayed the same just because.
With those real losses, Tennessee and Ole Miss each missed out on the SEC title game by a game. If the Vols had taken care of business in Gainesville, they would have had the same SEC record as Florida but would have advanced to Atlanta because of the head-to-head tiebreaker. Ole Miss finished a game behind Alabama in the SEC West, even after beating the Tide on the road. So if the Rebels hadn't have let Arkansas bamboozle them on their own field, Ole Miss would be joining the Vols in the ATL.
Ifs and buts, right?
But in our alternate universe, these teams are heading to Atlanta. You better believe folks in a Tennessee fan base starving for respectability will make the short trip to Atlanta. Bet your bottom dollar that Ole Miss fans who have never been to the SEC championship game will gladly cross the state of Alabama to get to the Dome.
This Earth's game has Nick Saban vs. Jim McElwain -- two guys who won national titles together -- but Earth 2 has rising coaching stars in Ole Miss' Hugh Freeze and Tennessee's Butch Jones. They've rejuvenated their programs and are bulldogs on the recruiting trail -- especially against each other. Nationally, people might not be as thrilled, but missing this game would be a mistake.
Junior quarterback Joshua Dobbs is starting to feel like his old running self and has become a more confident passer, two things that will play in his favor against Ole Miss' aggressive defense. Fellow junior gunslinger Chad Kelly has just had record-setting year in Oxford and is directing an offense that has surpassed 450 yards in six of its last seven games, while scoring 38 or more in its last three.
The College Football Playoff is still in play because Ole Miss would likely be in the top 10 of the College Football Rankings, making for two-loss conference champ playoff talk!
While Saturday's game could be a Bama blowout, this one would be heart-pounding. Tennessee would stroll into the Georgia Dome averaging 431.8 yards per game during its current five-game winning streak, while the Rebels would carry an SEC-high 514.8 yards and 40.3 points per game.
You have the squirmy, cannon-armed Kelly trying to slip and slide by resurgent pass-rusher Derek Barnett. Anyone interested in watching Cameron Sutton guard Laquon Treadwell? What about Robert Nkemdiche zeroing in on Jalen Hurd?
Both defenses are middle-of-the-pack in the rankings, so expect more collective offense than we'll see this weekend. Dobbs is back to being more of that true dual-threat and could frustrate Ole Miss' defense with his Skynet-issued legs. Oh, but watch out, Joshua! The heat-seeking missile that is Trae Elston is known to come flying through front sevens and offensive lines to mangle his targets!
This game probably hits the teens in scoring by halftime, and we're likely seeing 30-something as a winning number for the victorious team. And with the expected blowout in store for our Saturday on Earth, maybe this alternate universe wouldn't be so bad.