Why Bama would be better off NOT playing for the SEC title

"Best of luck against Arkansas. Seriously!" (AP photo)

"Best of luck against Arkansas. Seriously!" (AP photo)

As we discussed in this space last week, Alabama might not play for the conference title even if Arkansas beats LSU on Friday. For Alabama to win the tiebreaker and qualify for the SEC championship game, No. 3 Arkansas would have to pass No. 1 LSU in the BCS standings, and there’s no guarantee the Hogs will do that.

And if I’m Alabama, I’m thinking I’d just as soon not play for the SEC title. If I’m the Tide, I’ve already got what I need.

Assuming Alabama beats Auburn on Saturday, the Tide would surely be sitting No. 2 in the BCS rankings with one week to go. But the team that represents the West in the SEC championship game would have to face Georgia, which hasn’t lost since Sept. 10, and would have to do it in the Georgia Dome. If you’re all but assured of a berth in the BCS title game, why risk losing?

Yes, we’ve come 180 degrees since 2007, when Georgia led LSU in the next-to-last BCS standings but was passed by the Tigers at the wire. LSU beat Tennessee in the SEC championship game while the Bulldogs sat in Athens and watched, and immediately the ESPN-led cry went up: “You can’t play for the BCS title if you don’t even win your conference!”

Funny how almost nobody is saying that anymore. With the losses suffered by Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Oregon over the weekend, the SEC West now holds the top three spots in the BCS standings. Provided Alabama beats Auburn, it’s all but certain that SEC teams will finish 1-2 in the final rankings. And Alabama, which lost to LSU on Nov. 7, sits in the best spot of the three.

Arkansas probably can’t get to the SEC championship game no matter what it does. LSU could lose to Arkansas and still play for the SEC title, and a lot of numbers-crunchers think the Tigers could lose to Georgia — but not to both Arkansas and Georgia — and drop no lower than No. 2. But if Alabama beats Auburn it could be locked in at No. 2 without another game to play and that, all things considered, would have to be Position A.

Let’s say Arkansas beats LSU and passes the Tigers in the BCS rankings. Let’s say Alabama beats Auburn and moves to No. 1. Now let’s say, just for the sake of argument, that Georgia upsets Alabama in our fair city. That would leave Alabama with two losses and LSU and Arkansas with only one, and the all-SEC BCS title game would surely be staged without the Tide. (Can’t imagine a one-loss Oklahoma State or Virginia Tech nosing ahead of a one-loss LSU or a one-loss Arkansas that just beat LSU.)

Back in 2007, Georgia was blocked from the BCS title game because it didn’t play for its conference championship. For Alabama in 2011, playing for the conference championship wouldn’t seem essential — and it might even be injurious to the Tide’s health. Weird season, huh?

By Mark Bradley

500 comments Add your comment

Robert08

November 21st, 2011
1:14 pm

I love how the rules are constantly changing in college football … all led by ESPN and Kirk Herbstriet.

KP

November 21st, 2011
1:15 pm

Playoff anyone?

Robert08

November 21st, 2011
1:15 pm

I swear they make this up as they go along …

blue

November 21st, 2011
1:16 pm

Bill

November 21st, 2011
1:16 pm

I guess ESPN will decide who gets to play.

jimdawg

November 21st, 2011
1:17 pm

Its funny how this time around noone has even uttered a work Mark!

DawginLex

November 21st, 2011
1:19 pm

Bama has beaten Arkansas and Penn State. Whoopee!

They lost on the field when it mattered.

They won’t win their division nor their conference and should be disqualified from playing for the BCS title.

If LSU loses, then take the highest ranked of the 3. If that’s Bama, then they go to Atlanta and play us.

Dawgs97

November 21st, 2011
1:20 pm

No matter what, the SEC West folks do NOT want to hear about what happened to us in 2007. And if LSU loses Friday, surely they will still be crowing about going to the BCS game, no matter what.

Keep in mind, it was LES MILES who led the charge against Georgia in 2007 – I watched him on ESPN arrogantly say Georgia was disqualified. The Bama folks are one thing – but the LSU crowd led the way against Georgia having their shot – and if they lose Friday, they will suddenly have significant “memory loss”.

JWOOD

November 21st, 2011
1:20 pm

This is what is so injurious about the BCS and ESPN. They just make the rules up as they go according to whatever they want.

Mark Bradley

November 21st, 2011
1:20 pm

Sometimes there are years when there’s a clear No. 1 and No. 2, and someone will say, “The BCS worked this time.” The BCS NEVER works. At best, it lucks out.

good grief

November 21st, 2011
1:20 pm

no rematches in the BCS CG.

Mark Bradley

November 21st, 2011
1:22 pm

I’m thinking there’s almost no way to avoid a rematch this time.

good grief

November 21st, 2011
1:22 pm

every year I hate this stupid system even more. The Gumps lost. We know LSU > Bamer. They dont deserve another shot.

gadawgs

November 21st, 2011
1:23 pm

Yep..oh how things have changed in four years huh Mark? They would never hose Alabama the way they hosed us. Never would happen.

good grief

November 21st, 2011
1:24 pm

there are plenty of ways to avoid a rematch. The season aint over and voters havent voted.

timthebrave

November 21st, 2011
1:24 pm

Mark Bradley, (or anyone who knows)

I got a question. What if UGA were to win SEC and the top 2 teams to play were from the SEC west. Would SEC then have 3 teams in a BCS bowl even though 2 is suppose to be the max? Just curious

Bigdsel

November 21st, 2011
1:24 pm

I’m sure that the bcs people will find a way to screw UGA over even if UGA were to miraculously win out and beat the sec west champ.

#1 Dawg fan in bama

November 21st, 2011
1:24 pm

I hope we play bama I would love for us to destroy their season.

Hankie Aron

November 21st, 2011
1:27 pm

Mark- How in the world could AL go to the Nat’l Champ game and not win their own DIVISION let alone their own CONFERENCE. It sickens me as a UGA fan. Pure hypocrisy

good grief

November 21st, 2011
1:28 pm

Bama is the only team that would get the benfit of the doubt. It was just a couple of weeks ago (recent loss). Their offense isnt exactly spectacular. Their defense is so good GA Southern scored more on them than LSU did. And most of all they LOST the game, at HOME, and didnt SCORE a single TD! They dont deserve another shot.

All Cupcake Conference

November 21st, 2011
1:29 pm

Was waiting for one of you guys to bring this up.

This is why there basically is no such thing as a NC.

Its mythical at best.

You cant just move the goalposts and then say the kick was good this time.

It seems as though Bama is allowed to do just that.

True Dawg Fan

November 21st, 2011
1:29 pm

Auburn over bama
Ark over Lsu
OU over Ok state
Clemson over Va tech
UGA over Ark

UGA vs LSU for the Title

Bigdsel

November 21st, 2011
1:30 pm

I hope UGA wins out. Then UGA can win the argument that was presented to us in 2007. But I’m sure the bcs people would find a way to say that UGA isn’t good enough to play for a title.

Bigdsel

November 21st, 2011
1:31 pm

Just win dawgs

#1 Dawg hater in bama

November 21st, 2011
1:31 pm

Dream on….you might have destroyed the barn but you can’t touch us.

Bigdsel

November 21st, 2011
1:33 pm

U know they like bending the rules for bama

timthebrave

November 21st, 2011
1:33 pm

Please give us a playoffs. Whatever it ends up being would be better than this mythical national championship……College football has the best regular season but the worst playoff. If college division II, III and even high school football can have playoffs why not college?

Coach Z

November 21st, 2011
1:34 pm

Enter your comments here

Gbal

November 21st, 2011
1:35 pm

Tim –

IF UGA wins SEC and teo west teams are 1&2 and go the the NC game, UGA will go to the Sugar as a 3rd team. This is the only case where 3 confrence teams can blay in a BCS game.

Coach Z

November 21st, 2011
1:37 pm

The BCS is only to make money for these colleges. It does not care about putting the two best teams together. They want the best ratings, so they can make the most money. ESPN screamed that UGA was not eligible to play in the BCS Title in 07 because they did not win their division or their conference. NOW Bama just has to beat Auburn and its going to the BCS title game without winning their Division or Conference. Its a joke. Unfortunately the people with money are again screwing the fans out of a real championship. We only get the “Champion” that the BCS will let play.

just a fan

November 21st, 2011
1:38 pm

Thats the understatement of the year Mark

Bama is in a much better position than LSU now they only have to win one game vs the two LSU has to and the competition is much easier for Bama than LSU

pdawg

November 21st, 2011
1:38 pm

I just want so much mess to happen this next two weeks just to see the look on the ESPN and BCS guys faces……

Wet Willie...keep on smiling

November 21st, 2011
1:40 pm

You UGA fans are funny as heck. I hope Bama gets to Atlanta to play your team! If not then we will beat the ever loving sheet out of you in T-town in 2012. Run that mouth for that is what you’re really good at and your trophy case proves it! STFU

Won't that be a hoot...

November 21st, 2011
1:40 pm

…if UGA wins out and then any of LSU or AL or AR play in the BCS MNC…

billy

November 21st, 2011
1:40 pm

you mean like Georgia Southern touched you, right elephant rider?

just a fan

November 21st, 2011
1:41 pm

Also I am not sure why everyone complains about the possibility of a rematch, if we were in a playoff system like I believe most people want whether the format for the playoffs is a plus one 8 team or 16 team format we could definitely see a rematch. This of course is just MHO

fred

November 21st, 2011
1:41 pm

The difference in 2007 and now is that Georgia was competing with LSU for the last spot in the BCS title game. Both teams had the same record but LSU won the conference. If this year’s scenario plays out, Alabama would be competing with teams from another conference for the title spot. (big difference)

Gbal

November 21st, 2011
1:42 pm

I’d love to get Bamna too. It’s gonna be a tough game either way but it is great to be there!!!

I really want all the DAWGS focused on nothing but GT at this point. Anything after GT is bonus football for UGA. It’ll be very hard to justify our presence in the SECCG if we dont take care of T this week… I kno… we’ll still play it, but we need the W this week first.

Lee Courson

November 21st, 2011
1:44 pm

“Fudge”! What a mess! Again!

Mark Bradley

November 21st, 2011
1:45 pm

Yes, timthebrave. There’s a waiver on the two-teams-in-BCS-games rule if Teams 1 and 2 are playing for the title and neither won its conference.

Kelly

November 21st, 2011
1:45 pm

If LSU wins and gets to Atlanta and the Dawgs beat them, then LSU will most likely drop one spot, creating the opportunity for the rematch. This has as much to do w/ the computers as pollsters.

Jamaaliver

November 21st, 2011
1:46 pm

MB, has the weekly Heat Check pretty much been retired? or is it just difficult to run every week with only a handful of teams playing?

harold

November 21st, 2011
1:46 pm

Mark:
I love you guys at the AJC. You are fair and balanced. All you guys write senstational articles and I am a huge fan!

You hit the nail on the head yet again!

DawgFaceBlues

November 21st, 2011
1:46 pm

Let that big DAWG eat! Good Times are on the Way!

Mark Bradley

November 21st, 2011
1:48 pm

Thanks, harold.

Mark Bradley

November 21st, 2011
1:48 pm

Heat Check has been on hiatus, Jamaaliver. Might have to unretire it soon, though. Thanks for asking.

DC

November 21st, 2011
1:49 pm

LSU will win the SEC championship…there is no doubt. UGA can’t handle a game when the QB has pressure on him…point being the Kentucky game..I wouldn’t be upset if we see a rematch of LSU v Bama..as long as LSU wins…I dont want those tuscalosers having something to cheer about..

SEC West is the best conference in the land. so it only seems fitting for this to go down. Plus, if this happens it will only speed up the process of a playoff system! Stop crying about the past UGA fans. I mean heck AU went undefeated in 2004 with one of the most dominant defenses and sick nasty offenses in the country. But the media loved Oklahoma and USC., and that game was a big yawn,.and we move on..

DC

November 21st, 2011
1:49 pm

I hate this blog system…eats more posts than any other blog i’ve been to..

Don4654

November 21st, 2011
1:50 pm

If Bama can’t play because they lost to LSU earlier this year and didn’t even win the West then with that logic a wildcard team in the Nfl or MLB or Nba shouldn’t be allowed to play for the championship.

Gorilla Biscuit

November 21st, 2011
1:50 pm

I hope UGA beats LSU just to throw a Gorilla wrench into the whole equation.