BCS standings set stage for SEC showdown

Often convoluted and controversial, the Bowl Championship Series standings suddenly are simple and straight-forward.

As ABC sportscaster Brent Musburger said late Saturday: “You don’t need a computer for this one. Notre Dame will play Alabama or Georgia for the national championship.”

Notre Dame remained No. 1, Alabama No. 2 and Georgia No. 3 in the next-to-last BCS standings of the season, released Sunday night. And no plausible scenario exists that would allow any team outside that trio to reach the top two when the final BCS standings are compiled and the national title matchup officially set next weekend.

Notre Dame (12-0) completed its regular season with a victory over USC Saturday and won’t play again until the BCS title game in Miami on Jan. 7. Georgia and Alabama (both 11-1) will meet Saturday in the Georgia Dome in the SEC Championship game, with a berth opposite Notre Dame in the national-title game at stake.

The Georgia and Alabama coaching staffs were deep into preparation late Sunday for their de facto national semifinal.

“We’re just working like mad to try to get a game plan ready to go,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said.

He and Alabama coach Nick Saban took a late-afternoon break to spend a half-hour each on a conference call answering questions from the media.

Richt bristled a bit when a reporter asked if Georgia is untested because of a regular-season schedule that lacked games against Alabama, LSU or Texas A&M and how the Bulldogs might respond to facing the No. 2 team in the country Saturday.

“We’ve already played the No. 2 team in the country once this year and had a good day against Florida,” Richt replied.

The Gators were ranked No. 2 when Georgia beat them 17-9 and now are No. 4, a scant .0029 points behind Georgia in the BCS standings.

“We can only play who is on our schedule,” Richt continued. “We’ll be well prepared, but (Alabama) will, too. That’s why you kick it off and play. … Then we’ll just see where it goes.”

Another reporter noted similarities between Georgia and Alabama, including efficient quarterbacks, effective tailback tandems and stellar 3-4 defenses. Richt agreed before adding, “One thing that they’ve done is they’ve been national champions and we’ve not, they’ve been SEC champions and we’ve not, during the time frame of these kids’ careers. That’s the biggest difference I see right now.”

Said Saban: “Philosophically, there’s a lot of similarities (between the teams) in how they try to win with balance and taking care of the ball and playing with a lot of physical toughness on both sides of the ball. … There’s not a whole lot of tricks and gimmicks with us or them.”

Georgia’s offense has averaged 40 points per game over the past month, while Alabama’s defense has allowed only 9.25 points per game this season.

“We feel like we’re going to (have to) be real patient offensively and understand we’re playing a defense that is the best in the country, the best in the league,” Richt said. “We’ve got to … bang away and look for opportunities to make plays.”

“I think this is an outstanding team,” Saban said of Georgia, “because of the balance created by their ability to run the ball effectively as well as having a good quarterback and good skill guys outside to make plays in the passing game.”

Georgia is ranked No. 3 in this week’s USA Today and Harris Interactive polls — two of the three components of the BCS formula — and No. 4 in the other, the computer polls. Alabama is No. 2 in the USA Today and Harris polls and No. 3 in the computers. Notre Dame is No. 1 in all three BCS components.

The Associated Press poll, which is not part of the BCS formula, also has Notre Dame No. 1, Alabama No. 2 and Georgia No. 3 this week.

– Tim Tucker, AJC

READ ALL ABOUT IT: THE AJC’S COMPLETE (AND CONTINUOUS) SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME COVERAGE

68 comments Add your comment

Mobile Dawg

November 25th, 2012
9:51 pm

Let’s hope the Dawgs can be patient on offense, not make mistakes, and look for opportunities. That hasn’t been a trait of Richt coached teams in my memory.

Decatur joe

November 25th, 2012
10:00 pm

According to ESPN, the SEC championship has been played and Alabama won by 30.

rustynail

November 25th, 2012
10:03 pm

If the DAWGS play their A Game they will have a chance to beat the Tide.Turnovers could very well determine the outcome of this game. Hope the DAWGS come out on fire with fire in there eyes!! Time to prove that we belong!!!!!!”"GO DAWGS”"

dawgfan

November 25th, 2012
10:04 pm

Its all on the offensive line, just like always. Murray won’t be able to win this one by himself.

Bama Man exiled to ATL

November 25th, 2012
10:07 pm

If Georgia can keep from drawing flags…
AND If Georgia can get through the red zone…

I might be crying. RTR!

JacketFanMarcus

November 25th, 2012
10:07 pm

UGA hasn’t won a National Championship in 30 years.

The haven’t really beaten anyone but Florida and got CRUSHED by an above average South Carolina team…gonna be tough to get by BAMA.

Reminds me of the year UGA had Stafford and ended the season ranked #2 in last poll…

Vampire Bill

November 25th, 2012
10:09 pm

It’s going to be a long week. Go dawgs

senior citizen Dawg fan

November 25th, 2012
10:13 pm

Heard tonight that the loser of the SEC Championship will be in a BCS Bowl. Florida will be instead as an at large team. In other words, Fla. will be going to the Sugar Bowl. Even though Ga. defeated Florida. It stinks!!!!! Ala and UGA should be rewarded for their season!!!

senior citizen Dawg fan

November 25th, 2012
10:14 pm

meant to say will NOT be in a BCS Bowl.

BAMA Steve

November 25th, 2012
10:17 pm

well its like this!!! Bama is comming to play and take whats ours! get your beer ready its going to be a good onr

JimDog85

November 25th, 2012
10:17 pm

If Rambo can put his money where his mouth is and come up with another strip fumble and an INT then the Dogs can certainly win! Also Aaron Murray needs to keep playing the roll of the good Dr Jekyll and hit them with surgical TD strikes. If the INT throwing evil Mr Hyde makes another appearance, it will be a long night.

Rome-Dawg

November 25th, 2012
10:20 pm

Alabama has’nt beaten anyone but LSU and was getting crushed by Texas Aand M…..gonna be tough to get by UGA. Reminds me of the year Alabama got beat by FL in the SEC championship game.

playmeortrademe

November 25th, 2012
10:24 pm

Write this down. E$PN WILL lobby for Florida if UGA wins the SECCG close and if there’s any controversy or unforced mistakes by Alabama, like missed FGs or something. ESPN’s saying it will be the Alabama/Georgia winner for now because no one there believes Georgia can win. But when UGA wins, look for E$$$PN to pull out all the stops to get the voters to bump up Florida to at least #3, if not over UGA to get them in the title game.

Modern day college football is like a casino, folks. The house always wins. If E$PN believes they can sell Notre Dame vs. Florida better (and they will), they will make it happen.

LindseySnot

November 25th, 2012
10:36 pm

@ ALL dwagz….you don’t REALLLY think yer gonna beat Bama…right? I mean, beatin’ a uf team that couldn’t get outta their own way on ONE night…that seals the deal??? BWAHH Ha Ha Ha…24 to 7 Bama…bet the house.

wearegonnatradeyou

November 25th, 2012
10:37 pm

That’s ridiculous! That will never happen and I dont even need to go into the reasons why…..because no one else believes that either.

playmeortrademe

November 25th, 2012
10:58 pm

@wearegonna, It happened in 2007. ESPN wanted UGA out and LSU in against Ohio State. UGA was set to be #2 in the BCS after West Virginia and Missouri lost but ESPN pitched a fit and got LSU and Virginia Tech above UGA. Don’t tell me it couldn’t happen again, even if UGA wins the SEC.

RomeDawg

November 25th, 2012
11:06 pm

Surprised that ESPN’s Mark Schlabach is picking the Dawgs.

T-Dawg

November 25th, 2012
11:07 pm

Georgia has played 2 teams in the top 10 and won one and lost one. Alabama has played 2 teams in the top 10 and won one and lost one. There are 3 teams in the top 10 from the SEC east and 3 teams from the SEC west. Georgia hasn’t played any of the 3 from the west. However, Alabama hasn’t played any from the east. Why is it that everybody talks about Georgia playing a soft schedule but nobody mentions that Alabama didn’t play any of the three top 10 teams from the east. I believe the east is just as good as the west, maybe better. Just saying. Oh well we will find out this Sat.

Droc

November 25th, 2012
11:28 pm

Alabama 34-14

Preston

November 26th, 2012
12:03 am

The real NC game is this Saturday at 4pm. ND doesn’t have anything for 2, 3, or 4 in the latest BCS ranking. Just another media darling waiting for their title shot. Got news for ya Irish. It ain’t happening. SEC rules. Just watch to see which one gets to throttle your ass! No. 4 Florida would even handle you guys!

GTBob

November 26th, 2012
12:19 am

Why is it that everybody talks about Georgia playing a soft schedule but nobody mentions that Alabama didn’t play any of the three top 10 teams from the east.

Because the West owns the East. Have you seen the last three SEC championships? SEC fans like to claim superiority over everyone else because they have won recent championships. Well, that is exactly the reason that the SEC West has superiority over the SEC East. You are in a second rate division. Live with it.

TheTruth

November 26th, 2012
1:32 am

SEC is so-o-o-o-o-o OVERATED!!! Their top teams schedule 4 non-conference games with hideous lower division schools, almost always at home guaranteeing 4 wins, then play the dregs of the SEC ( Ole Miss, Kentucky, Vandy, Mizzou, Tenn this year), getting another 4 wins, then all they have to do is split the remaining games to be at worst 9-3 or 10-2. Your league sucks until you start playing home and home series with other BCS powers. Say, Bama @ Oregon, or LSU @ Ohio St., etc…not freakin Florida at home against Wofford
!!!!!

Sargent Carter

November 26th, 2012
2:03 am

It’s up to Georgia’s defense. They have to play like they did against Florida. Alabama is well-oiled like any Saban team but is not quite as good as the last few years. The winner is the national champion. No way Notre Dame beats either of these teams.

Dawg G'Mom

November 26th, 2012
2:05 am

Not going to say my beloved bulldogs WILL beat Bama, but I certainly hope they do. Both are great teams and have coaches with integrity who believe in tough but fair play. Only time will tell who is best.

Uga

November 26th, 2012
2:24 am

@TheTruth, well Bama vs Michigan, Lsu vs oregon, Fla vs FSU,south carolina vs clemson. All won by the SEC team. Overrated I think not. Even though I know your a GT fan thats bitter over the 42-10 drubbing of your little honey bees

Uga

November 26th, 2012
2:34 am

Don’t let me forget 6 straight NAT’l championships. Vs Ohio st., Texas,Oregon, and Oklahoma are all victims.. So yea numbers and results speak for themselves

William

November 26th, 2012
2:48 am

Good point Uga. The SEC doesn’t have to appoligize to anyone about their schedules. GA over Tech, Fla over Fla St. / S. Carolina over Clemson/ Vanderbilt over Wake Forest/ Bama over Michigan etc. The SEC has won six MNC in a row. Many more before that. The SEC is the best conference in the nation and the winner deserves to be in the game. Georgia has a chance against Bama. If we win we deserve to play Notre Dame for the title. Go Dawgs, GATA GtBob you’re an idiot. There are six teams or more from the SEC that could win the ACC.

dawgdip

November 26th, 2012
4:21 am

Nothing about GT in this article yet there is GTBob showing his stupidity once again. See you next year stupid.

GaTruth

November 26th, 2012
5:38 am

Everyone says UGA didn’t play Bama or LSU or Arkansas (then Miss St, then A&M). Well Bama didn’t play UGA, FL, or SC. The Michigan team they trounced would lose to GT – face it the Big 10 is SO bad Ohio State’s strength of schedule is worse than UGA’s even with our three patsies. Not saying Dawgs will win but we have a chance if Bobo game plans for heavy pressure and we take care of the ball.

brad

November 26th, 2012
6:08 am

Its funny how nobody talks about Notre Dame’s BS schedule. If you watched them play USC, you can tell they suck!

Cal22

November 26th, 2012
6:48 am

Coach Saban said Georgia had a good QB? I’ve thought really hard on this and I can’t figure out who he’s talking about. The only one I know about is the one who’s had two back-to-back powder puff seasons to break a couple records. If he was really that good he’d be declaring this year.
The truth is, he knows that NFL linebackers much tougher than Nick Fairley will break his pansy ass in half. I would love to see a compilation of his stats against teams with winning records or better yet during bowl games. Murray will throw 3 picks against Bama and will find a good home in Canada. Sorry Coach, I know you’re just being PC. Now RTR!!!

BigDawg

November 26th, 2012
7:04 am

Me thinks there are a lot of nervous fans about the Dawgs and Tide here. If both teams play as they are capable then it will be a great back and forth game with penalties, turnovers and big plays deciding the outcome. But if the Dawgs that played South Carolina show up it will be a long afternoon for us. If the Tide team that showed up for A &M then it will be a long afternoon for them. As for the MNC game it is one game at a time fellow Dawgs do not get ahead of yourself.

Go Dawgs

Realist

November 26th, 2012
7:06 am

Just six more days to savor the delusion.

Enjoy!

Top Row Dawg

November 26th, 2012
7:21 am

The best part of this season is that Ohio State can’t deny us the championship or a shot at the championship like they did in 1942 or 2002. The magical year continues. The Dream Team is being fulfilled. This 30 years ago crap stops this year.

UGA secures its spot among the big 6 of the SEC with the Crystal Ball at the Butts Mehre Museum instead of at a local Wal Mart in rural Alabama. The Tide is trolling and Georgia will stomp it. America loves to see tearful Bama fans on TV. If Georgia plays to it’s talent and ability, good will prevail over evil. If Georgia does win, let’s see if Bama fans will pull for the SEC team over the Irish, or come out with beat Georgia Shirts like they did in the basketball game with Penn State years ago.

The second best part of this season is keeping Florida out of the mix and in seeing the chicken curse continue. And ain’t it wonderful not seeing (Fat Turd on I-95 in Jacksonville) post anymore?

My Skivvies

November 26th, 2012
7:30 am

Have a Butts Mehre.

Dawg_Mike

November 26th, 2012
7:30 am

Please just focus on the next game at hand. Notre Dame isnt our opponent, Bama is.

Rambo

November 26th, 2012
7:42 am

We got it all over Bama.

No contest. Bank it. This game will be a breeze!

Hey! Pass them brownies!

Just Kidding

November 26th, 2012
7:59 am

Dare I even dream it — this is the week for the stupid black uniforms!

smitty

November 26th, 2012
7:59 am

Ken: I just bought two tickets to the ACC Championship game.
Joe: What did they run you?
Ken: Six bucks
Joe: BWHAHAHAHA
Joe: You could have gotten them on EBay for half that
Ken: Bartender can I have a Purple-hand?

beachside BULLDAWG

November 26th, 2012
8:07 am

There is NO DOUBT the Dawgs can win the game. Sure, we have laid an egg here and there over the years, but this game, fought between groups of hard working young men, will show the dedication of both groups. The years of training and school, years of not having a life outside of those two things, thousands of kids throughout the landscape of college athletics are represented by young men and women like these from UGA and Alabama, every week. They don’t suck or stink! They are not chokers, pansies or scared. Those usually quit athletics in high school. Very few of us could or have dedicated ourselves to such a regimen, lets give them credit and support for their accomplishments. Now, go Dawgs, beat Bama in an awesome game.

Reality: Ohio State sucks; Tech stinks; Southern Cal is a bunch of pansies; Michigan chokes and Auburn…..couldn’t put a team on the field if it were not for GA high school players….played scared all year. Who doesn’t like college football!!!!!

Tomás Broun

November 26th, 2012
8:08 am

Two ways to build winning teams:

1. Hire 1st rate coaches and recruit players with talent and character (example: Alabama).

2. Hire 3rd rate wannabe coaches and recruit low class trash, then schedule a lot of crap teams (example: Georgia).

Method #1 works. Method #2 gets you a decent W-L record, but no championships.

dawgma

November 26th, 2012
8:14 am

Just like 1980 – UGA beats ND. This time at the Orange Bowl. Period.

Coach D

November 26th, 2012
8:24 am

Let the Big Dawg EAT!!!!!

Mike Bobo 17 INT

November 26th, 2012
8:31 am

Tide by 20 or more…..this will be a huge beat down….

Mike Bobo 17 INT

November 26th, 2012
8:35 am

UGA had one of the weakest schedules in the nation. GA Southern, Buffalo, FAU, Tennessee, GT, Vandy, KY, Ole Miss, and Auburn. Again, this is nothing but window dressing for Athens again, and just another contract extension for CMR.

Mike Bobo 17 INT

November 26th, 2012
8:36 am

It was a good run, but all good things must come to and end, and on Saturday, UGA will be destroyed by Alabama.

Mike Bobo 17 INT

November 26th, 2012
8:38 am

ESPN article about a “favorable schedule…”

Think about it: They got a break long before the season kicked off because their schedule didn’t include SEC West heavyweights Alabama and LSU. And while few knew it at the time, Georgia also benefited from not facing Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M.

The Bulldogs lost a game ugly — 35-7 to South Carolina — but lost it relatively early, too, on Oct. 6. They benefited from South Carolina losing its next two games, but never falling out of the top 15 in the polls.

After the South Carolina game, Georgia faced only one other major test in the regular season — an Oct. 27 date with rival Florida. Although the Gators had the more impressive résumé, with wins against LSU and South Carolina, it wouldn’t matter if they didn’t beat Georgia. They didn’t, and the Bulldogs gained the tiebreaker and an easy path to the SEC East title.

Joey

November 26th, 2012
8:50 am

“Your league sucks until you start playing home and home series with other BCS powers.”
******************************************************
You are so right, techie.

UGA, UF, and SC should be ashamed of the opponents they played last Saturday. Cupcakes. Every one of them.

Downright embarrassing . . .

Lonnie

November 26th, 2012
8:55 am

R Good point GAtruth! The key is that we have to play based on the here and now! The SC game weighs heavily in the mind of ESPN and our inept record against the elite teams since 2007. But let’s be fair guys. We were not that good in 2009 and 10. We lost to Tide in 2008 after beating them in 2007. Now we are better we have only one weakness and other than SC the line has performed well. Murray was good in second half against FL and our defensive playmakers are on top of their game. Tight ends are stepping up and we are understanding the moment. I think we have a good chance!!!!

Bazooka Joe

November 26th, 2012
9:00 am

Bama man exiled… I would agree with you, but being a Georgia fan/ticket holder for a long time…. its been awhile since we have alctually DONE all that (at least at the same time !). If we want to win this game we will HAVE to do it. Play with the intensity of the Flroida game but minus the turnovers and stupid penalties. We got away with it against Florida, we wont get away with it against Bama….