UGA’s path to the BCS title game? It’s not a straight shot

These are the Oregon Ducks. Georgia wouldn't mind seeing them lose. (AP photo)

These are the Oregon Ducks. Georgia wouldn't mind seeing them, er, quack up. (AP photo)

The last BCS title game not to include an SEC representative was staged in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 4, 2006, exactly one year before Nick Saban was introduced as Alabama’s new coach. The last BCS title game to include a team from a conference other than the SEC was staged in Glendale, Ariz., on Jan. 10, 2011, and by now you’re sensing where I’m going with this.

Georgia is No. 5 in the BCS standings. If it wins the rest of its games, it will be 12-1 and the SEC champion. Is there any way a 12-1 SEC champion would NOT play for the BCS title?

Yes, this is putting a wobbly cart before a skittish horse. To get to 12-1, the Bulldogs have to beat Auburn, and then Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech, and then would come Alabama. (Provided Alabama doesn’t do something crazy like lose to Texas A&M and Auburn, which it won’t.) Let’s assume Georgia arrives at the Dome on Dec. 1 having lost only once to play the still-unbeaten Crimson Tide, and let’s assume the Bulldogs contrive to topple the mighty men of Saban. What then?

The teams ranked 2-4 in the BCS standings are all unbeaten. It’s possible, if not probable, all will stay that way. Kansas State still must play Texas on Dec. 1, and the Wildcats might have to face TCU this Saturday without quarterback Collin Klein, who suffered a head injury against Oklahoma State. Oregon still must play Stanford and Oregon State, and it could meet USC, which the Ducks just beat 62-51, again in the Pac-12 title game. Notre Dame must play at USC on Nov. 24.

But what if Kansas State, Oregon and Notre Dame — or two of the three — are still undefeated at the close of business Dec. 1? Should a one-loss SEC champ get the nod over any of the above?

For Georgia: Having taken the past six national championships, the SEC has essentially become college football. Only last year we saw an Alabama team that didn’t win its division play for the BCS title, which it won. The Bulldogs could make the argument that other one-loss SEC champs — LSU in 2003, Florida in 2006 and 2008 — and even the two-loss LSU of 2007 have not only qualified for the national championship game but won the thing.

Against Georgia: Undefeated is undefeated, even if you’re not from the SEC. (Or, in Notre Dame’s case, from any league.) And surely there are folks in other precincts who have wearied of SEC domination and would lobby long and loud that somebody else deserves a chance.

Also against Georgia: Its schedule. The Bulldogs have played only two ranked teams, and they lost to one of those by 28 points.

Georgia’s rebuttal: Alabama would make a third ranked opponent, and if the Bulldogs beat an unbeaten Bama they’d have registered victories over a team ranked No. 1 in the BCS standings and another (meaning Florida) that was No. 2.

For our concluding word, we turn to Brad Edwards, who monitors the BCS for ESPN Insider. His verdict: For a 12-1 Georgia to play for the national title, “two of the three undefeated teams ranked above it have to lose.”

That’s it? No SEC-deserves-a-spot groundswell? Said Edwards: “If (Georgia jumping any of the unbeatens) did happen, it would be because of the SEC’s six consecutive championships … (But) I don’t think even a one-loss SEC champ is going to finish ahead of any of those teams. I don’t think any of the teams in the group is considered a fraud. Notre Dame has skeptics, but people still believe it has a championship-caliber defense.”

About Georgia: “You also have the factor of that one loss. If Georgia’s profile were more like Alabama’s last year, where you lost to a top team in overtime and dominated everybody else you played, it might be different.”

What about those one-loss SEC champs who’ve reached the title game? “The difference is, in every case those teams were beating out another one-loss team, or another two-loss team in LSU’s case (in 2007). If those three teams stay undefeated, I really don’t see many voters putting Georgia higher than fourth.”

Edwards’ salient point: No once-beaten team has made the BCS title game ahead of an unbeaten team from any major conference. For all the griping about this screwy system, that much has been a constant: Undefeated is undefeated. (Although tell that to 9-0 Louisville of the Big East, ranked No. 9 in the BCS standings.)

For these unlucky ‘Dogs, just coming close would be more of the same. In 2002, a 12-1 Georgia finished third in the BCS standings, missing the title game because Miami and Ohio State were undefeated. In 2007, the 9-2 Bulldogs were No. 4 in the penultimate rankings, whereupon two teams ahead of them lost; Georgia, however, was passed in the final standings by three two-loss conference champions. And now, after seeing three BCS titles taken by one-loss SEC champs, this might be the one-loss SEC champ that never gets the chance.

Further reading: If you missed the weekly Heat Check (Georgia is mentioned), it can be found here.

By Mark Bradley

490 comments Add your comment

Listen up GTBob

November 5th, 2012
1:11 pm

Your maggots won’t even make a bowl game this year – unless you SWEEP UNC, Duke and the Dawgs and there is NO WAY the latter is happening.

Congrats on that HUGE loss to Middle Tennessee State! Long live Paul Johnson! LMBO!

Go Dawgs – Beat Auburn – Everyone else in the SEC has!

Russo

November 5th, 2012
1:13 pm

GTBob, I give you credit for continuing to follow college football given that your chosen program is a complete disgrace to the sport. Kudos.

Still can’t believe Pitt wet the bed against Notre Dame.

Toinuhfish

November 5th, 2012
1:13 pm

GTBob,
need to worry about what’s going (or not going) on down @ the flats…just lost your AD and about to start over again. Jealousy is not becomming….You would love to be in our situation….actually relavent this time of year.

Toinuhfish

November 5th, 2012
1:13 pm

GTBob,
need to worry about what’s going (or not going) on down @ the flats…just lost your AD and about to start over again. Jealousy is not becomming….You would love to be in our situation….actually relavent this time of year.

[...] reading: Regarding that question about Georgia and the BCS title game … here’s the answer. (For now, [...]

tooltime234

November 5th, 2012
1:17 pm

GTBob UGA is going to destroy us. We cant stop anybody. They are going to run up and down the field on us.

tooltime234

November 5th, 2012
1:19 pm

BTW ListenGTBob tech only has to win 2 of those 3. I dont think we get past UNC this weekend though

GFF

November 5th, 2012
1:19 pm

GTBob = LOSER on so many levels!

GTBob

November 5th, 2012
1:19 pm

Wow, an AJC first. Someone stole my name and made the first post of a blog with it. Kudos to fake GTBob. For the record I don’t think there is any chance that UGA loses another game before the SEC championship.

Devil's Advocate

November 5th, 2012
1:20 pm

GTBob,

I see GT losing a game soon.

Alphare

November 5th, 2012
1:21 pm

Mark, did you talk about UGA’s chance before SECCG last year?

If you did, UGA fans must be comparing UGA to the year LSU had 2 losses and went on to win NC.

This year, it’s all about a 1-loss UGA team compared to a 1-loss FL team winning NC, twice.

dawgnation1

November 5th, 2012
1:21 pm

Thing is, I know that its the same every year with the UGA /GT game. Beating Georgia would make techs season. But, I think it’ll be especially true this year. If the bugs are fighting for a bowl bid, and Georgia’s looking ahead to Bama, it could be a monster trap game.

82Dawg

November 5th, 2012
1:22 pm

GT Bob is jealous that his team is losing everything…Even the A.D. had enough sense to jump off of the sinking ship…..

Nacho Cheese Sauce

November 5th, 2012
1:22 pm

I think when we play teams like Georgia Southern and Buffalo instead of trying to sign games with Oregon, Notre Dame, and USC then I think the goes in the minds of the BCS commissioners. UGA hopefully will drop the cupcakes and go for filet minion in the next few years with the playoffs coming soon.

Boris

November 5th, 2012
1:24 pm

Still waiting for the “Tech’s path to BCS title game?” article by Mr. Bradley. How long should I hold my breath?

sidslid

November 5th, 2012
1:24 pm

Always happens. Two of those unbeatens will lose to somebody. Weird stuff happens when the spotlight shines: WVU losing to Pitt, annual Big 12 choke job, Oregon State has come oh so close to beating Oregon the last few years. Alough my favorite team of 2-5 is KSU, I think they are vulnerable to a loss. Not because of the injury, but because of the fluky history of the Big 12.

From the BCS calculations, I think Notre Dame and Kansas State are bulletproof if they go unbeaten. Video game Oregon is not getting much love. I could see Georgia at one loss sneaking past them, particularly in the computers if they beat Bama and Oregon beats a three loss USC in their respective championship games. KSU looks legit. I am not a Dog fan or hater, but I wouldn’t put Georgia above KSU. I might put them above Notre Dame.

tooltime234

November 5th, 2012
1:26 pm

dawgnation, theres no way UGA loses to Tech this year. Just a third party observation, it seems if UGA could cut out the silly turnovers and penalties and play disciplined, they could have a shot a Bama. Bama looked beatable and UGAs offense is better than LSUs

Tye

November 5th, 2012
1:30 pm

Too bad Sponge Bob could not have gone to Clempson with D-Rad! Sponge Bob has to be the scrauniest little tweep that ever walked his High School. You know he got his tail kicked on a daily basis.

Alphare

November 5th, 2012
1:30 pm

actually, computers hates UGA. UGA has a computer score of .810 at #6 compared FL’s .870 at #5.

rescue dog

November 5th, 2012
1:30 pm

Go read SI’s Stewart Mandel column regarding UGA’s weak schedule as reason enough NOT to include UGA as a NatChamp contender…truer words never written…

rusty

November 5th, 2012
1:30 pm

Teams that lose 35-7 to South Carolina do not deserve to play for anything.

DABO

November 5th, 2012
1:32 pm

Enter your comments here

Alphare

November 5th, 2012
1:33 pm

“Bama looked beatable and UGAs offense is better than LSUs”

I guess you didn’t watch last year’s SECCG, did you?

An additional point...

November 5th, 2012
1:33 pm

Concerning things not in favor of UGA’s chances….It’s not just that they got trounced by one of the two good teams they played, but they have only put together one 4 quarter performance all season, and that was against Vandy. UGA has been terribly inconsistent and often unimpressive with too many sloppy wins to be proud of.

And as the article states “Undefeated is Undefeated”. Sorry DwagNation…ain’t gonna happen.

Fools Gold

November 5th, 2012
1:34 pm

Mark Richt blew it in 2007 losing to SC. Mark Richt blew it again this year losing to SC. UGA shouldnt lose to a program like SC.

Lord Saban

November 5th, 2012
1:34 pm

hahaha. Mutt fans know whats coming for them.

Since Vince

November 5th, 2012
1:35 pm

This season is OVA.

volsman

November 5th, 2012
1:36 pm

Not expecting UGA to beat bammer if they can make it through the end of the season with only 1 loss, but ligthing can strike. Given that the rest of the nation is desperate for another conference to be national champion, I do not think that UGA would be given a chance unless 2 of the three lose before season’s end. ESPN needs ND to be in that game. Money is the real motivator here. The only way SEC has a representative is if bammer wins out. They will destroy either Oregon or ND. K state would be a great game.

tooltime234

November 5th, 2012
1:36 pm

I did but that was last year. I think Murray is better though imho.

Devil's Advocate

November 5th, 2012
1:38 pm

I have no problem with 2 undefeated teams playing ahead of a 1-loss UGA. Dawgs should have beat up on South Carolina. Maybe the returning players will finally learn a lesson and make sure it doesn’t happen in 2013. Obviously the returning players this season didn’t learn their lesson losing to Boise, SC, and LSU last year. Motivation will lead you to a championship.

@GTBob

November 5th, 2012
1:38 pm

Wow, a fake GTBob. That would be like a fake Steve Spurrier. Well, no not a good analogy, there are some out there that actually like Spurrier.

rescue dog

November 5th, 2012
1:41 pm

Georgia will always be the bridesmaid…just not an elite program…fanbase too accepting of mediocrity.

BigDawg

November 5th, 2012
1:42 pm

Norte Dame is a fraud and should have 3 losses if not for down right bad calls by officials which got them those 3 victories. As for Oregon- great offensive team if they do go undefeated a real challenge for anybody. Kansas State great team led by a great coach and a damn good QB. Alabama until beaten is the best team this year Great Head Coach, very good QB, great defense, OL and some very good receivers and backs. LSU, South Carolina and Florida are better than Norte Dame but would probably lose to them because of bad officiating.

Anyways a lot would have to happen for Georgia to play for the BCS National Championship— so I say take it one game at a time, if it is meant to be it will happen. Otherwise I am not worrying about that only the Dawgs next game against our oldest Rival Auburn.

Go Dawgs

Alphare

November 5th, 2012
1:43 pm

Well, Murray is consistently bad against good defense team. LSU would crush UGA if they play this year imo.

BTW, Mettenburg was considered the weakest link except the BAMA game. I never know what’s gonna happen in a rivalry game.

Auburn circa 2004

November 5th, 2012
1:45 pm

I’m sure everyone old enough to remember an undefeated team from the SEC that didn’t get a chance at the title will shed a lot of tears for a one-loss team that doesn’t get a chance to play for the BCS title. How about a little perspective?

robodawg

November 5th, 2012
1:45 pm

Let’s get to the SECCG and see how we stack up against Bama. We would’ve liked a shot at the MNC in ‘02, ‘05, and ‘07 too. Maybe a 4 team playoff will better our chances. A conference championship would still be a major achievement.

m

November 5th, 2012
1:46 pm

A program like SC??? Where do DAWG fans get the impression that their program is such a cut above the rest? Sure shouldn’t be past performance. All UGA has done since 1980 is prove they are the 3rd to 5th best team in the SEC annually. Looks like another year of cheering for SEC national championships by teams other than you. Congrats, DAWG fans.

Boclive

November 5th, 2012
1:47 pm

Watched the Ole Miss-UGA game until the series of turnovers happened. After that, I mostly watched Pitt-Notre Dame. Sometimes you get home-cooked. That happened to Pitt.

Dirty Dawg

November 5th, 2012
1:49 pm

Just win and let the chips fall…and if we knock Alabama out of the top spot, and the chance for the SEC to win another NC, so be it. We’ll have made a bunch of Bulldog fans happy…given us something to bit@h about during the off season…and rubbed RollTides stinkin nose in it.

1776

November 5th, 2012
1:51 pm

Whilst UGA has the talent and ability to beat Bama…I seriously doubt they will. IF such is the case, I think they’ll play for the BCS title because I suspect KSU and Oregon will either lose one OR have a close win (which may cost them some BCS points).

Yella Britches

November 5th, 2012
1:52 pm

UGA in the BCS championship?????????????????????????? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAH

The 40 point loss to Bama might hurt those chances……

Sports Illustrated

November 5th, 2012
1:52 pm

Alot of things have to happen for UGA to have a chance for a NC.

(a) They would have to win the rest of their regular season games

(b) Two of the teams in front of them, not counting Bama, would have to lose

(c) They would have to beat #1 Alabama

GTBob

November 5th, 2012
1:52 pm

Well, here is the dilemma for UGA fans now. Win the SEC title and you are SEC champions and you go to a BCS bowl. The SEC’s run of National Championships will come to an end though. Lose and the SEC can continue their magical run of dominance but UGA goes to the Capitol One bowl. Considering how much UGA fans ride the coattails of the SEC, I wouldn’t be surprised if they root for Alabama.

Cobb Dawg

November 5th, 2012
1:56 pm

Let’s be crystal clear about this: The BCS is a glorified exhibition game, in which the participants are decided based on the opinions of human beings. This fact alone makes it unworthy of anyone’s attention. The only championship that should matter to UGA is the SEC title — period. It’s the one that’s decided purely on the field, NFL-style. No polls, no voting, no ESPN.

Yella Britches

November 5th, 2012
1:56 pm

Why is this a topic? UGA is not going to the BCS Title Game.. What a Joke!

Buckeye

November 5th, 2012
1:56 pm

Here we go again. SEC! SEC! How’s Auburn working for you?

dogs remain delusional.

7/8 wins against teams with combined record of 25-39. woof woof.

And “Twiddle Butt’s” record against top 25 teams?

Buckeye

November 5th, 2012
1:57 pm

And that Kentucky remains an SEC! SEC! Least power!

Hmmmmm

November 5th, 2012
1:58 pm

I would love to see UGA win out and Play ND for the BCS MNC. That would be fun.
Gotta get past the elephant first…one bite at a time.

Steve

November 5th, 2012
2:00 pm

Sports Illustrated, fantastic insight!

Yella Britches

November 5th, 2012
2:01 pm

Yeah…. What Buckeye said!!! GO JACKETS!!!!