Posts Tagged ‘BCS’

Upsetting Georgia would give Tech needed boost for future

Roddy Jones (20), Troy Garside (33) and Marcus Wright (3) were among celebrating Jackets in 2008. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

From Tech's 2008 celebration: Roddy Jones, Troy Garside and Marcus Wright. (Brant Sanderlin)

During the course of a five-minute interview, Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson referenced Georgia’s No. 3 ranking in the BCS three times, just on the chance that we didn’t know.

“It’s not often you get a chance to play the No. 3-ranked team in the country,” he said.

“We haven’t beaten them in three years — that should be motivation enough. And they’re the No. 3-ranked team in the country,” he said.

“It’s an important game — and we also know that it’s the No. 3 team in the country,” he said.

So, just for clarification, Georgia is ranked No. 3 in the country, correct?

“I think so,” Johnson said, smiling. “That’s what somebody told me.”

Welcome to the view from the other side. Johnson is perceived as the other coach of the other team in the other conference. On Saturday, his Yellow Jackets will face the Bulldogs in their annual feud in Athens. Johnson …

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Wonder why SEC on top? Look at other conference finals (with video)

SEC's Mike Slive: "Yes, I am king. Are there any questions?" (AP photo)

Can you hear SEC commissioner Mike Slive? "Yes, I am king. Are there any questions?" (AP photo)

While it’s easy to understand why any fan of a conference not named the SEC grows tired of hearing and reading about the SEC, the evolution of this year’s conference championship match-ups screams why the landscape is so lopsided.

This came home Monday when Miami announced that the football program was going to self-impose a bowl ban (hoping to beat the NCAA to the punch) and therefore would not accept a bid to the ACC championship game. This allowed Georgia Tech to back through the door as Coastal Division “champions.” The Jackets will face Florida State for the ACC title.

This isn’t meant to pick on Georgia Tech. It’s not the Jackets’ fault they have been given this opportunity, despite a relatively crummy season. But if you want to know why the SEC commands the attention it does, just look at how the ACC and other conference championship games compare.

Here are the …

Continue reading Wonder why SEC on top? Look at other conference finals (with video) »

Georgia’s new reality: From on the brink to BCS possibility

Mark Richt and the Bulldogs know if they can win two more games they'll play for BCS title. (Brandt Sanderlin/AJC)

If Mark Richt and the Bulldogs win two more games they'll play for BCS title. (Brandt Sanderlin/AJC)

This is why we love sports. This is why it’s the greatest reality show we have going – unscripted and unexpected, with fluctuating emotions of fan bases from game to game.

Who foresees this? Who looks at a 0-2 Georgia team last season, with coach Mark Richt under assault by fans and media, with the program a non-factor in the SEC for more than two years, boat-raced in the conference by Alabama, Florida and LSU, and thinks: By the end of next season, those Bulldogs may have a chance to play for the BCS championship?

After some early hiccups in Athens Saturday, Georgia buried Georgia Southern 45-14. That’s one development that surprised nobody. What changed the landscape of college football’s national race is what occurred later that evening.

Kansas State, the BCS’s No. 1 team, got body-slammed 52-24 by Baylor (the same Baylor that was 1-5 in the Big 12 before kickoff). …

Continue reading Georgia’s new reality: From on the brink to BCS possibility »

Upsets launch Georgia into BCS title picture (UPDATED)

It took a little while but Aaron Murray and Georgia eventually took charge. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

It took a little while but Aaron Murray and Georgia eventually took charge. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

(LAST UPDATED: 12:18 a.m.)

ATHENS – For as much as Mark Richt prefers his Georgia players focus on opponents (Georgia Southern, Georgia Tech) and not acronyms (SEC, BCS) in these final two weeks of the regular season, it was difficult not to notice what was scrolling on the Sanford Stadium video board before Saturday’s game.

First came the screen shot with large bold letters screaming: “BCS STANDINGS.” Then came the screen shot listing the nation’s top ranked teams, from No. 1 Kansas State to No. 5 Georgia.

The topic is impossible to ignore. It’s why, even in games with seemingly foregone conclusions like Saturday’s against Georgia Southern, some will look at the way things started for the Bulldogs on this day and think, “Uh-oh.”

But don’t overthink this.

Did Georgia come out a little flat, a bit sloppy and probably unfocused against an FCS opponent? Clearly. …

Continue reading Upsets launch Georgia into BCS title picture (UPDATED) »

Short takes: Slow start but Murray wakes up offense

This late first-half touchdown pass to Malcolm Mitchell was first of four straight by Aaron Murray. (AP photo)

This touchdown pass to Malcolm Mitchell was first of four straight by Aaron Murray. (AP photo)

(I’ll be back with a column on Georgia’s win over Georgia Southern shortly. Until then, here are my three “short takes” on today’s game.)

1. Georgia’s fortuitous scheduling: The Georgia Southern game was scheduled for Saturday because its option offense mirrors that of next week’s opponent, Georgia Tech. Smart. But the Bulldogs needed this game for another reason: Almost on cue, they come out flat, unfocused and sloppy. It wasn’t surprising, given the emotion of a four-game winning streak that culminated in last week’s SEC East-clinching rout at Auburn. But it’s still something that great teams shouldn’t do. That said, the Dogs woke up, starting with a late first-half touchdown drive, and went on a 31-0 run through the third quarter after Southern tied the game 7-7.

Todd Gurley was held toi 27 rushing yards in first half, an example of Georgia's early struggles. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

Todd Gurley was held to 27 rushing yards in first half, an example of Georgia's slow start. (Brant Sanderlin)

2. …

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LIVE: Georgia hopes for easy day against Georgia Southern

Mark Richt wants players to focus on game, but BCS standings on scoreboard.

Mark Richt wants his players to focus on game but BCS standings are on Sanford Stadium scoreboard.

ATHENS — For the first Saturday of the season, Georgia will take the field today as SEC East Division champions. And by the time this game ends, the Bulldogs hope nothing will have happened to dampen that title.

A week after clinching the East title at Auburn, the Dogs play host to Georgia Southern. Nothing against the Eagles, who have an impressive winning tradition at the Division 1-AA/FCS level, but this one shouldn’t be close.

Georgia has three simple goals: 1) Tune up defensively for next week’s game against Georgia Tech, which, like Southern, runs an option offense; 2) Build a big enough lead to get into position to pull starters in the second half; 3) Get out of this game without any significant injuries.

A berth in the SEC championship against Alabama is secure, but Georgia could have more on the line after that. The Dogs’ No. 5 ranking in the BCS creates an outside

Continue reading LIVE: Georgia hopes for easy day against Georgia Southern »

Will SEC get team to BCS title game? (answer below) (video added)

Nick Saban and/or Mark Richt need some help for BCS title berth. (Jason Getz/AJC)

Nick Saban and/or Mark Richt need some help for BCS title berth. (Jason Getz/AJC)

(Video added below)

Is it time for a rare dirge at SEC headquarters?

Not quite.

Three non-SEC teams — Kansas State, Oregon, Notre Dame — top the BCS rankings. This is the equivalent of a Big Foot sighting – or maybe three of them. But there’s still a possibility that the winner of the SEC championship game in the Georgia Dome between Georgia and Alabama will wind up in the BCS championship game.

Will SEC get a team to the BCS title game?

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SEC schools have won six straight BCS titles. In short, two of the three undefeated teams ahead of Georgia and Alabama have to lose for a chance to make it seven. And that could happen.

Here’s how I see it breaking down:

No. 1 Kansas State (10-0).

Schedule: at Baylor (4-5), vs. BCS No. 15 Texas (8-2)

Recap: The Wildcats will beat Baylor. The Bears can score a ton of points but their defense can’t hold up …

Continue reading Will SEC get team to BCS title game? (answer below) (video added) »

Here’s how Georgia can get to BCS game (step by step) (UPDATED)

Will Georgia players and fans have something to celebrate with the BCS standings? (AP photo)

Will Georgia players and fans have something to celebrate with a BCS title berth? (AP photo)

(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 …

Continue reading Here’s how Georgia can get to BCS game (step by step) (UPDATED) »

Georgia has uncomfortable mix of highlights, slapstick

The Bulldogs celebrated their fifth win but know they have to play much better. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

The Bulldogs celebrated their win but know they have to play much better. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

ATHENS — Georgia arrived at 5-0 at the most unexpected place: Smack at the intersection of the Sun Belt Conference and a Marx Brothers movie.

This is where it’s important to point out that it’s only September, and style points don’t yet matter, and it’s not like Georgia did not do some pretty spectacular things Saturday (two freshmen running backs, Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, combining for 294 yards and five touchdowns), and this is the SEC, and a win is a win, and (add whatever cliché that comforts you).

But there was a point in Saturday’s game against Tennessee when you found yourself thinking, “OK, who’s going to pull out the seltzer bottle?”

When two teams combine for 95 points, 13 touchdowns, 46 first downs, 1,038 yards, three fumbles, four interceptions, two botched extra points, one blocked extra point, one blocked punt and one dropped kickoff return out …

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Paul Johnson will defend Tech’s offense, but not defense

Al Groh must know that whatever he's doing, Paul Johnson is watching. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

Al Groh must know: Whatever he's doing, Paul Johnson is watching. (Johnny Crawford)

There are at least two things Paul Johnson has committed to memory. One is his offense. The other is his counterattack for anybody who questions his offense.

It’s like the other day, when I mentioned to Johnson that his team needed significant improvement on defense and his run-run-run-run-run-oh-look-it’s-third-down-run-run offense needed some semblance of a passing threat for Georgia Tech to move up to the next level. (I never claimed either observation was a stunning revelation). Johnson’s response was expected: both amusing and unrelenting.

“Well, the second part I’m not so sure of,” he said. “We beat Clemson last year, and they were ranked fifth, and we didn’t throw the ball. We beat Georgia in my first year throwing for 19 yards. Would it help if the other team has everybody committed to the run and we could throw it over their heads? Sure. But we’re not going to throw it 30 …

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