Isn’t UGA better than the Capital One Bowl? Why, sure it is

For Georgia, getting over Alabama won't be easy. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

For the Bulldogs, getting over the Alabama game won't be easy. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Athens – Depending on the index, Georgia is ranked No. 5 (USA Today coaches’ poll), No. 6 (Associated Press) or No. 7 (BCS) in the land. Counting the national championship game, the BCS fits 10 teams into five postseason games. Georgia, alas, is not among them.

The Bulldogs are bound for the Capital One Bowl, which is essentially the consolation game for losers of conference championships. (Georgia’s opponent is Nebraska, which lost to Wisconsin 70-31 in the Big Ten title tilt.) With three losses, the Cornhuskers probably belong in the Capital One. Georgia does not.

At worst, Georgia is the nation’s third-best team. It went 11-1 in the regular season and won the SEC Eastern Division, which this time around was no junior circuit. (Florida is ranked No. 3 in the BCS standings, South Carolina No. 10). But the Bulldogs were penalized for falling five yards short in one of the greatest games ever played, dropping from No. 3 to No. 7 and sliding below Florida.

Lest we forget, Georgia beat Florida 17-9 on Oct. 27. But the Gators finished with one loss to the Bulldogs’ two, and by virtue of being ranked in the top four Florida was guaranteed a BCS spot. For the second year running, we see the advantage of NOT playing for the SEC championship: In 2011 Alabama played for the BCS title without risking a loss in the Georgia Dome on the first Saturday in December, and now Florida gets to play in a BCS game ahead of the SEC loser.

This isn’t to say Florida is undeserving: At worst, the Gators are the nation’s fourth-best team. This is to say that the system – stop if you’ve heard this one – stinks. Northern Illinois (No. 16 in the BCS standings) and Louisville (No. 21) will grace BCS games, but Georgia will not. The Bulldogs are the highest-ranked team to be excluded from the Big Five postseason games.

And this sits with the Bulldogs … well, about the way you’d think. “Maybe a little bit robbed,” was quarterback Aaron Murray’s assessment. “We definitely feel like we’re a BCS-caliber team. I think we proved that all season long. I think we proved that in the SEC Championship Game — that we belong with the best.”

Tight end Arthur Lynch, speaking of the epic loss to Alabama: “We’ve proved ourselves worthy to be in that situation. Some people have said it was a de facto national championship game. In my opinion, those were the two best teams in the country.”

Then this: “I’m not unhappy with the Capital One, but the national championship was the only game I wanted to go to. If we were in New Orleans (for the BCS-level Sugar Bowl), that wouldn’t be where I wanted to be.”

Wide receiver Tavarres King, measuring his words: “I don’t really think anything. The system is OK. I really can’t say much more.”

But he did. He said this: “I’d love to see an eight-game playoff. If you go head-to-head with teams in this conference, you might slip up. We certainly deserve a BCS bid.”

The argument can be made that, if you’re not playing for the BCS title, it doesn’t matter where you land. Monetarily that’s not true, and psychically it isn’t, either. The BCS system – which will yield to a four-team playoff come to 2014 – has created a three-tier system: Tier 1 is the championship game; Tier 2 consists of the other four BCS bowls; Tier 3 is everything else.

The BCS allows a conference only two spots in its Big Five. (Unless two teams from the same league are matched in the BCS title game and neither is the conference champion, which could never happen.) But when the bigger leagues grow by the minute and the Big East descends to Sun Belt level, is such a provision fair? Would the New Year be lessened if the Sugar Bowl, say, featured a rematch of Georgia-Florida?

Said Mark Richt, Georgia’s coach: “Is Florida deserving of the (BCS) opportunity? I think they are. I think we are, too.”

For the record, Richt and many Bulldogs lauded the Capital One. “Everyone is exited to go to Disney World,” Murray said. “Everyone wants to use their (bowl-provided) Best Buy gift cards.”

But danger awaits in Orlando. Georgia is clearly the superior team – Nebraska is ranked No. 23 by AP – but Georgia mightn’t have the greater motivation. Asked if he feared his team might believe it’s too good for the Capital One, Richt said: “I don’t think anybody is thinking that. The Capital One is a great bowl. Nebraska is a great program.”

Those are nice words from a famously nice man, but the reality is rather different. Thirty days after losing a national semifinal by four points and five yards, Georgia will face a much lesser opponent in a more austere setting. Spend those Best Buy gift bucks wisely, guys.

By Mark Bradley

614 comments Add your comment

Steve

December 12th, 2012
3:25 pm

UGA wasn’t penalized for falling 5 yards short. It was penalized for having an easy schedule, and losing two of three toughest games it played.

No way is UGA the third best team in the country. Oregon, Florida, K-State all played tougher schedules than UGA.

Cartman

December 12th, 2012
3:32 pm

Tears…mmmm….. taste so good.. tears of unfathomable sadness… mmmm….

sarfdawg

December 12th, 2012
3:35 pm

Mark, you’ve always been quite the wordsmith, but “psychically”? Either most impressive or very misspelled.

I fear the same thing that happened last year against a clearly lesser Michigan State team. Then again, Georgia will respond the same way they did in the SEC Championship game and learn from past mistakes.

Dodney Rangerfield

December 12th, 2012
3:36 pm

Matt

December 12th, 2012
3:36 pm

YAWN!!!!!! Isn’t this a two week-old argument, Mark?

sarfdawg

December 12th, 2012
3:36 pm

Steve, Georgia beat Florida on a neutral site. They are better than them.

jarvis jones

December 12th, 2012
3:37 pm

U are crazy Steve.
Georgia played its schedule and beat the Gators.
We were a tipped pass away from beating Bama, who played just as “easy” schedule as Georgia, yet you don’t hear anybody like STEVE doubting their position.

DawgGone

December 12th, 2012
3:37 pm

Um Steve..hello!!!! Georgia beat Florida!!!

sarfdawg

December 12th, 2012
3:37 pm

Sorry – that didn’t make any sense. Georgia = “They,” and Florida = “them.”

Realist

December 12th, 2012
3:37 pm

Nothing “swayed” the Sugar Bowl. Florida was automatically in a BCS game because they finished in the top four. With Alabama in the National Championship game, the SEC had reached the two team max, and UGA got left out. The flaw in the current system is the two team per conference cap, but without that there may have been 5 SEC teams in BCS bowls…

Matt

December 12th, 2012
3:38 pm

How exactly is UGA the third-best team in the country when they’ve lost to USC and Alabama? Are those two teams #1 and #2, then?

Mark Bradley

December 12th, 2012
3:38 pm

Actually, “psychically” is a word, and it’s the word I intended.

Gordon

December 12th, 2012
3:38 pm

How in the world can you say that UGA should be higher than Florida? The SEC has 6 elite teams. Each one of these teams only lost to others in theh Elite 6. Florida was 3-1 in those games, and UGA was 1-2. In addition, Florida played a tougher OOC schedule (Florida State vs. Georgia Tech).

An 8 point loss on a neutral field does not overcome all of that. Not even close. USC (2-1 in elite 6 games including smoking UGA) and LSU (2-2 in Elite 6 games) also have a good argument to go ahead of UGA.

Matt

December 12th, 2012
3:38 pm

Other than Florida, what is Goergia’s biggest win?

bdawg

December 12th, 2012
3:39 pm

Moist Dawg

December 12th, 2012
3:39 pm

I still almost throw up all over my keyboard whenever I hear about this greatest game ever nonsense. If it was that great, WE would be heading to Miami, not bama.
All we can do now is beat the huskers so bad that they reconsider their football program.
SIC EM & to he11 with the rest of the SEC.

sarfdawg

December 12th, 2012
3:40 pm

Gordon, Georgia beat Florida and played an extra game that Florida didn’t have to play.

some sense

December 12th, 2012
3:42 pm

Nobody asked the Dogs to get pasted in Columbia. This isn’t basketball; the regular season counts.

John

December 12th, 2012
3:42 pm

GA beat two teams with a winning record: Vandy, and UF. And even that took six UF fumbles, including one at the goal line.

Gordon

December 12th, 2012
3:43 pm

@sarfdawg,

And you lost that game. Played your best game in 3 years, and lost. UGA is a fine team, played a great game, but lost. You can’t just come close and impress everyone, you have to win.

?

December 12th, 2012
3:44 pm

Steve,
Interesting comment…Florida played a tougher schedule than UGA? Youmdo remember the two teams played…UGA won.

jarvis jones

December 12th, 2012
3:45 pm

truth hurts Gordon. Two years in a row baby. Accept that the Gators were a blocked punt away from losing to La Lafayette!
Dawgs are better and your qb situation is sad.

JB

December 12th, 2012
3:45 pm

Anybody that watched the Dawgs play Bama and come away saying that the Dawgs are “lucky’ or non deserving are just haters. Dawgs played really well that night…. and most of the country agreed. Stuck in Orlando is a crime……But so was the Sugar bowl with Hawaii. Should of played So. Cal for the title that year. Gator fans throwing peanuts from the bleachers.

John

December 12th, 2012
3:46 pm

@sarfdawg: UGA is only in the Bama game because of a lucky fake punt and a botched call on the pass interference just prior to the blocked field goal. UGA is lucky, not great.

LakeDawg

December 12th, 2012
3:47 pm

Steve

You are correct. UGA isn’t the 3rd best team in the country. They are the 2nd best team in the country.

LakeDawg

December 12th, 2012
3:48 pm

Bama is lucky they tipped that ball. That’s who is lucky.

Gordon

December 12th, 2012
3:48 pm

Georgia played 3 games with opponents of comparable resources and talent (Alabama, Florida, and South Carolina). The won 1 of them. Florida played 5 such games (LSU, Texas A&M, UGA, South Carolina, and Florida State). They won 4 of them.

JB

December 12th, 2012
3:48 pm

Gators are living off past times. Close call to Lafayette indeed. Dawgs could of played Gators that night in the Dome and won AGAIN.

JB

December 12th, 2012
3:49 pm

test…. Banned ?

LakeDawg

December 12th, 2012
3:49 pm

UGA whipped UF. It shouldn’t have been close. If they played 10 times, UGA would win 10 times.

Mark Bradley

December 12th, 2012
3:51 pm

Didn’t Florida benefit from South Carolina turnovers? Should that game not have counted, too?

Gordon

December 12th, 2012
3:51 pm

@Lakedawg,

What happens more often? A tipped pass or a blocked FG returned for a touchdown? There was luck on both sides in that game.

Andy

December 12th, 2012
3:51 pm

Gordon-good one! Why should the teams actually playing a game matter in deciding who is the better team? I’ll admit that college football is a quirky game in which good teams lose to worse teams, but you can’t ignore the plain evidence that Florida lost to Georgia (twice in a row now). Ever hear the expression, “that’s why we play the games?”

HOUDAWG

December 12th, 2012
3:52 pm

According to many …… ALA was going to kick our butts …. we didn’t stand a chance. Didn’t happen …. shoulda won & playing on Jan 7th. That said , my Top 5 would be :

1. Alabama
2. Notre Dame ( they did luck out & go undefeated)
3. Georgia
4. Texas A&M ( did ya hear they have a QB ? )
5. Florida or Oregon ( interchangeable )
6 thru 20 – Who cares ?

Big Chuck

December 12th, 2012
3:54 pm

@LakeDawg,

2nd best team….. hahaha, don’t make me laugh.
That is another example of a Georgia fan eating too much red dirt,

Junior Samples

December 12th, 2012
3:54 pm

how bout dem jackets

couldn’t even win the minimum games to get in a bowl; rather slack

wooooo

December 12th, 2012
3:55 pm

When you get housed by 31 against SC and don’t even score until the last minute against their backups you kinda lose the argument that UGA is a top 3 team.

LakeDawg

December 12th, 2012
3:55 pm

As for not playing in a BCS bowl, it is a distinction in name only. Capital 1 bowl is actually a better bowl this year than the Sugar. Would you rather play Louisville over Nebraska? One thing the BCS has made sure of is that every bowl other than the CG is crap.

cewbee

December 12th, 2012
3:55 pm

there is a number to call …. 1-800-555-WAAH

omg

December 12th, 2012
3:55 pm

UGA is destined to be the red haired step child of football. If they went 12 and O it would be because they played Ten, Fl, AU, Miz, and the west div champs. The four team play off system will land UGA fifth every year.

DollarDawg

December 12th, 2012
3:55 pm

You always want to win and the loss to Bama in the conference championship was an obvious disappointment but we really can’t complain. Flawed as the system may be everyone knew the rules going in. Had something been changed mid stream there would be grounds for complaints but the BCS system has always worked this way: a seemingly deserving team or teams always get left out. It just stings moe whan that team is yours.

The real solution is fixing the system and that will be taken care of with the playoff format set to begin in 2014. Even then, there will be complaints. One can already hear team number five explaining to anyone who will listen why they should have been in the top four.

The flawed BCS system without a doubt accomplishes one impressive feat: It keeps us talking college football long after the season has ended. Maybe they’re not so dumb after all.

rivercard

December 12th, 2012
3:58 pm

Florida was a good match up for Georgia as their bad offense is worse than Georgia’s bad defense.

Unquestioned that South Carolina better than Georgia, but they lost a game they shouldn’t have and stuff happens.

Georgia – Beat Bama or deal with the consequences. Whining is as pathetic as your run defense.

Gordon

December 12th, 2012
3:58 pm

No one is saying the UGA win or Florida shouldn’t count. That’s how UGA got to Atlanta. They deserved to be there. But an 8 point win on a neutral field does not overcome the huge discrepancy in meaningful wins (Florida 4, UGA 1) or meaningful losses (UGA 2, Florida 1). The Sugar bowl took the right team. Even if it were 2014, UGA would not deserve a spot in the final 4. It should be ND, Alabama, Florida, and either Oregon or South Carolina.

7576DAWG

December 12th, 2012
4:01 pm

That is why the BCS is such a sorry excuse for finding a true National Championship. The BCS lost all of it’s credibility years ago when it allowed teams like Northern Illinois to take one of the BCS slots without ever beating even a good team in the year let alone a top ten team.
What the public wants to see is Georgia playing Oregon , Florida playing Oklahoma, L.S.U. playing Stanford and Kansas State playing Texas A&M . They got the last one right.
As Herb on Game day said the public doesn’t care how the money is divided , they want to see good match-up’s. Northern Illinois has to sell approx. 17,000 tickets. They will do good to get 2000 of their fans to go to Miami. I will watch the Georgia game, the Kansas State – Texas A&M game and the National Championship game but will not turn my TV to other bowls to give the BCS any higher rating than they deserve. I hope ESPN and the other networks cover bowl game lose they butt.

rivercard

December 12th, 2012
4:01 pm

Gordon – Agreed

Robert08

December 12th, 2012
4:01 pm

Dawgs clearly deserve better than Capital One Bowl. However, I am excited that my alma mater is playing for its third national title since 2004. Go Blazers …

Steve

December 12th, 2012
4:02 pm

If UGA is the third best team, and USC beat them by 4 TDs, does that make USC #2?

Gordon

December 12th, 2012
4:02 pm

@Andy,

Does the same apply to South Carolina? Head-to-head comes behind the overall record to determine champions. UGA has TWO losses, Florida ONE. ONE is less than TWO. That’s why we play the games. ALL the games.

Gig 'em

December 12th, 2012
4:02 pm

We beat Bama….

rivercard

December 12th, 2012
4:03 pm

7576Dawg – I am with you. i will watch very few of these dreadful bowl games. Hope they lose their collective rear ends on these bowls.