UGA’s Playoff Position
As the late, great Larry Munson once famously said, “The Sugar is falling out of the sky.” That’s if Georgia can do what they did in our last trip to the Dome to face LSU. Ranked in the Top 5 and heavily-favored, LSU appeared too much for UGA…until kickoff. Behind top league QB DJ Shockley, two-loss UGA totally blew out the Bayou Bengals to claim Mark Richt’s second league title.
LSU-BAMA is being hailed as a national title rematch, though if UGA beats LSU no team can say they did what we did. We would have won eleven straight and be the SEC Champions, the only team to beat LSU. And then the two runners up in the SEC would go play for the National Championship. So if we had not turned the ball over and given up so many fluke plays after far out-gaining Carolina in a 45-42 loss, or if we had simply not scheduled Boise, UGA would be one win away from playing for it all. Fair? Hardly. If Georgia can beat LSU, Georgia would be an obvious choice to win a playoff. Not so long ago, Bama failed to score over six points at home versus LSU. While we would have taken LSU out on a neutral field and have not lost since the summer. But, that is the frankly sad state of NCAA football – my favorite sport by far but this year would and does just scream PLAYOFFS. The SEC Champion would be a favorite to win any playoffs, having won the past five championships. What evidence is there this season that a BAMA program that hasn’t won their division in two seasons could outscore us? A Penn State or Arkansas win?
Oh yeah, we beat little Tech Saturday for the tenth time in eleven tries. And we lead the SEC in sacks, the nation in limiting big plays; we have the 4th-ranked D in the NCAA, the number 2 run D in the country. We have the 2nd-ranked offense in the SEC and the conference’s top passer, by far statistically surpassing LSU-BAMA in offensive dynamics. But, we scheduled Boise – a team that has not lost to a BCS conference team in years and years, while beating Oklahoma, Oregon (twice), Virginia Tech…and a very young Georgia team opening the season without a known identity.
Sure, if LSU does what they have never done since the 1950s and goes undefeated to win the SEC, they would be a clear and deserving team to play for the championship, against undefeated Houston. Could Bama outscore the Cougars? We will never know. TCU may have shut Auburn and Cam down last year, like they did every team they played. That is just a fact. No one will ever know. Houston is probably not as strong as the undefeated Rose Bowl “champion” TCU Horned Frogs were last year – we think – well you get the point…
UGA is in a position similar to that of the NFL Champion Green Bay Packers, when the playoffs started last year. Except unlike them, we actually won a football division. We made the playoffs! Bama would be the top wildcard.
The two times LSU has advanced to play at the site of the Sugar Bowl for BCS Championships, they lost football games. Last time, they lost late season to Arkansas, and KENTUCKY and still were voted in to play a home game for it all against hapless Ohio State. But, there is no chance UGA wins this game? Come on. LSU is the favorite, as they were that championship year versus the Big Blue Mildcats, but this game Saturday is a real championship. The BCS is not. The BCS is a bunch of mythical BS, though it would be a huge thrill to go to New Orleans and win the sUGAr bowl anyway. Beating Hawaii there was fun. Right?
Georgia is destined for the Sugar unless Vegas is right Saturday. Then we would have three losses. Bama-LSU will play for it all (regardless). Arkansas has two losses; Carolina has two losses. Arkansas beat Carolina badly and gets the Capital One, probably. Carolina gets their best bowl ever again, the Outback. The Chicken Sandwich Bowl would normally get UGA again under this premise, but would the SEC banish the SEC East Champion Dawgs to the ATL for the fourth time in one season while straight shafting the Big D Cotton Bowl by giving them crappy Auburn? Probably. Maybe the league would work it out and we’d be back in Texas for the first time since we beat Texas 10-9. That’s what time it was in Texas that winter: Ten-to-Nine.
.500 Florida gets a bowl; .500 Vandy gets a bowl; .500 Miss State gets a bowl. And that’s that for the SEC this year. No Tennessee bowl practice this year for Lil’ Dooley. And Kentucky is solidly into basketball season. We could have used mediocre Mizzou and .500 Texas A&M just to fill our league bowl slots. Down year for the middle of the league, I guess.
The league runners up may play each other for it all while the SEC Champions are locked out, because we can win it. Either way the scenario is somewhat disappointing, and we are loaded for next year and had a nice season. We have nothing to lose Saturday. See y’all in The ATL for what had most of the year been deemed a play-in-game to the big one. Just not for us.