(Video added below)
It wasn’t long after Georgia’s win over Florida when I received a few emails and messages on Twitter asking whether the Bulldogs could make it to the BCS championship game. So while this certainly qualifies as putting the cart before the horse – or the crystal trophy before even the SEC East – here’s an outline of what has to happen for the Dogs to get to this year’s BCS title game in Miami on Jan. 7.
1. No. 6 Georgia needs to win its final four regular season games: Mississippi (home), at Auburn (which potentially clinches the East), Georgia Southern (home) and Georgia Tech (home). The Dogs will be favored in all four. They are 14-to-17½-point favorites over Mississippi. Georgia also can’t afford to look unimpressive in the wins because there is a chance that voters in the two polls used in the BCS equation drop them in the rankings.
2. No. 1 Alabama likely needs to beat No. 5 LSU. The reason for that is if Georgia and LSU both win out, LSU is staying ahead of Georgia but there’s no guarantee that Alabama would drop behind the Dogs if they lose this Saturday to the Tigers. So Georgia’s only assurance of passing one of the two (LSU) is an Alabama win.
3. Two of the following three schools need to lose a game: No. 2 Kansas State and/or No. 3 Notre Dame and/or No. 4 Oregon. Let’s break this down by school:
• Kansas State doesn’t get much love because it plays in what remains of the Big 12. But the Wildcats are coming off impressive wins over West Virginia (55-14) and Tech Tech (55-24). They have their two toughest remaining opponents at home – Oklahoma State this week and Texas in the final week – as well as TCU and Baylor on the road. Kansas State’s biggest break: There is no Big 12 championship game anymore — the conference has only 10 schools, two under the minimum, after the defections of Nebraska and Colorado. So it can just sit back and watch the others play, except for …
• Notre Dame also will not play in a conference championship game as a result of being independent. Bu the Irish still must play at USC in the final week. (So Georgia fans could be in the position of rooting for Lane Kiffin.) Notre Dame’s other three games: Pittsburgh (home), at Boston College and Wake Forest (home).
• Oregon has by far the most difficult remaining schedule, playing three ranked teams – at USC (No. 17 BCS) this week, home against Stanford (14) Nov. 17 and at rival Oregon State (11) in the final game. The Ducks also play at home against Cal.
4. If all of that happens, the Dogs can finish as one of BCS’s top two teams if they accomplish just one more thing: defeat Alabama in the SEC championship game. In other words, they would have to beat the nation’s best team for the conference title just for a chance to play for the opportunity to be the best team for the national title.
That would be the most difficult win of all.
So anybody want to put some odds on this?
By Jeff Schultz