Athens – Overheard a fascinating conversation in the McDonald’s on Prince Avenue this morning, and I found it so fascinating I rushed to Ye Olde Stadium and started asking my colleagues if the gist of the conversation could in fact be true.
My fellow patron — didn’t catch his name, but he was wearing a Georgia cap, which I believe differentiates him from everyone else in town today — was speaking of Oklahoma State’s loss to Iowa State and saying it could clear the way for the Bulldogs to lose in the SEC championship game and still play in the Sugar Bowl. His reasoning: LSU and Alabama appear bound for the BCS title game, leaving the tied-to-the-SEC Sugar without a conference representative.
And this old eavesdropper put down his Sausage McMuffin and said, “Hmmmmm.”
Upon entering the press box, the first person I saw was esteemed colleague Tim Tucker, who’s the best person to see when you have a question about procedure. (Because Tim, I’ve learned over these past 27 1/2 years, knows everything.) He said he was pretty sure BCS rules precluded three teams from a conference being selected to the five BCS games, but he looked it up to be sure. I did the lazy thing and e-mailed Charles Bloom, the SEC’s director of communications. And here’s what we found:
There is a way for a conference to have a third team play in a BCS game, but there’s almost no way that waiver could apply to Georgia this year. From Bloom’s e-mail:
A third team from a conference can get into a BCS bowl if the top two teams from the conference are ranked 1 and 2 and participate in the national championship game and are not the conference champion. The conference champion would thus give a conference a third team in the BCS. Hope that helps.
It does. As odd as the final BCS standings figure to be, it’s impossible to imagine that LSU and Alabama could finish No. 1 and 2 with neither being SEC champ. For that to happen, LSU — assuming it beats Arkansas on Nov. 25 and wins the West — would have to lose to Georgia in the Dome but drop only one spot in the rankings. And if LSU loses to Georgia, then the Bulldogs’ destination is already moot: They’d be in the Sugar Bowl as SEC champs.
Ah, well. It sounded pretty good 45 minutes ago.
As for today’s game: Georgia needs to beat Kentucky to win the SEC East. Georgia will beat Kentucky by four touchdowns. Most years, the softest SEC scenario would be to be playing at home with Vanderbilit as the opponent. Let the record reflect that Vandy beat Kentucky by 30 points last Saturday. I say no more.
And with that, the floor is again open for questions, comments and bowl projections. I welcome your company. And if anyone happens to know the identity of that gentleman in McDonald’s — he had a beard; I know that narrows the field even further — give me a heads-up. I owe him a hearty tip of the MB cap.
By Mark Bradley