If Alabama and Iowa end up playing for the Bowl Championship Series title in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 7, a game that would probably end up 3-3 on its way to overtime, remember Saturday.

Saturday was one of those possible "game-changer" days that make fundamentally flawed college football more interesting than every other sport — a sport you might want to think long and hard about before you let Congress tamper with it.

In no other sport can a blocked field goal in Tuscaloosa and a last-second miracle in East Lansing have such a potential impact on hopes in Cincinnati and dreams in Boise.

Iowa defeated Michigan State as time expired when quarterback Ricky Stanzi hit Marvin McNutt with a seven-yard scoring pass.

Was the ball ever going to get there?

Iowa's season could be measured from the release point out of Stanzi's hand to his receiver's finger tips.

"It felt like the slowest play ever," McNutt said.

Iowa is 8-0 after dodging its fourth or fifth dagger this season. The Hawkeyes, by all rights, should have been cooked birds on opening day when they needed two blocked field goals in the final seconds to hold off Northern Iowa at home.

Had Iowa lost then, no one would be talking about Iowa now.

Every week counts in college football, even the weeks you had no business winning.

After Saturday you wondered how many miracles Iowa could possibly have left.

"We've already had a couple," coach Kirk Ferentz admitted after the win. "Hopefully we're not using them all up."

Alabama should have lost to Tennessee at home — but didn't. In a 12-10 win, Tennessee missed one field goal and had two others blocked, the last by Terrence Cody as time expired.

If Alabama, 8-0, advances to win the national title, no one will remember at the 10-year reunion how unfair Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin thought it was.

Tennessee had eight penalties in the game to Alabama's one.

"Very shocking to me," Kiffin said afterward.

A bad bounce here, a blown whistle there.

"That's how fragile a season is," Alabama coach Nick Saban said.

If only Tennessee's long snapper could have bothered Cody long enough for Daniel Lincoln to make the game-winning kick.