Georgia Bulldogs and the BCS National Championship: A Clear Scenario Still in Play
Over on Bleacher Report I recently stated that the Bulldogs aren’t completely out of the BCS National Championship picture. To be sure: two losses in the first half of the season are tough to overcome, but consider the following:
- We’ve seen a two-loss Natty winner before (LSU in 2007)
- We’ve seen Georgia ranked lower after eight weeks (also in 2007) and ascend to a BCS Bowl without winning the SEC.
- The SEC Championship is still in play.
Here’s what needs to go right for the Bulldogs:
- Win the rest of their regular season games.
- Win the SEC Championship Game.
I spent time in the original Bleacher Report article detailing how this can happen, so head there for the Georgia side of things. But today I want to detail the scenario from the non-Georgia side. In particularly, I want to look at who needs to lose to who.
This entire scenario hinges on one hypothetical and one assumption.
Hypothetical: Georgia wins each of its remaining regular season game.
Assumption: A two-loss winner of the SEC is favored over any one-loss team in the country.
If Georgia loses another game (and I’m certainly not saying they won’t), this scenario is done. Similarly, if voters and polls reverse the trend of spotting SEC teams one additional loss to account for difficulty, then even all of this going right won’t put the Dawgs in the Title Game.
As it stands, however, Georgia can win all of its remaining games – at least in theory. And recent precedent has put 1-loss SEC teams into BCS Games over 0-loss non-SECers. I think the same would hold for 2’s over 1’s.
Clearing the East
Missouri of all teams is now the leader in the SEC East. Georgia at 3-1 needs Missouri to lose two games in conference play. Since we know Georgia is going to win out and in doing so add a tie-breaker over Florida to the tie-breaker already held over South Carolina, we don’t care who beats Missouri. So let’s just make it easy: Florida and South Carolina defeat Missouri in back-to-back weeks. If they don’t, Missouri still has Tennessee and Kentucky (unlikely) as well as Ole Miss and Texas A&M (more likely) to pick up two losses, but Georgia will be best served with the Tigers out of the way early.
Assuming everyone else wins out thereafter, Georgia will be tied with either South Carolina or Florida (the two have to play on November 16th at 7-1 in SEC play. Again, Georgia will win the tie-breaker and head to the Georgia Dome. Two losses and a non-win of the SEC East will eliminate Mizzou from National Championship consideration.
In this scenario, a Florida win over South Carolina hands the Gamecocks a second loss and with no shot at the SEC East, Spurrier’s team would also be out of BCS Contention. Although, even a South Carolina win over Florida would not be enough to overcome the good will Georgia could generate from a SEC Championship Game win.
Clearing the West
For poll reasons, it’s in Georgia’s best interest to play the best (as far as BCS computers are concerned) team possible in the SEC Championship. Accordingly, Alabama – the lone undefeated SEC West team – is the most attractive option. Alabama has already defeated Texas A&M and will need to defeat LSU to remain unbeaten. If Bama runs the table, then LSU will be effectively eliminated from BCS National Championship contention by virtue of two-losses and not appearing int he Conference Championship.
Clearing the ACC
Florida State and Clemson both play fairly easy schedules but have the following games remaining:
- A matchup with each other
- A matchup with in-state rivals – Florida and South Carolina
- A potential ACC Championship Game
The easiest way for both of these teams to disappear is for the winner of this weekend’s head-to-head battle to lose to its in-state rival. I like South Carolina’s odds against Clemson more than I like Florida’s odds against Florida State, so this week Georgia fans are Clemson fans. In short: Clemson beats Florida State. South Carolina beats Clemson.
We then need the winner of this matchup to defeat Miami in the Conference Championship Game. Or, we need Miami to lose to somebody along the way.
Clearing the Pac-12
No. 2 Oregon and No. 9 UCLA remain undefeated. The two teams play each other on October 26th, and both teams still have Stanford left on the schedule. If Stanford wins out, a one-loss Cardinal team could be a force to reckon with in the polls, so we don’t really want that. If this isn’t random enough already, Oregon State is also a force at 3-0 in Conference play. But, at the end of the day, the players at hand are Oregon, UCLA and Stanford. We want everyone to lose at least once and we want Stanford to not win the Pac-12 on the heels of a 7-0 finish with wins over UCLA, Oregon State, Oregon, USC, Cal and Notre Dame + a Conference Championship. One possible scenario: Oregon defeats UCLA and Stanford before losing to UCLA in the Conference Championship.
Big 12 Baylor
Baylor is scoring eleventy billion points per game, so I don’t know who stops the Bears. Fortunately their remaining schedule features three consecutive games against ranked opponents beginning November 7th with Oklahoma, followed by Texas Tech and a trip to Oklahoma State. We just need Baylor to lose one of those games. I don’t care which one. But OU has the best defense as measured by points allowed, so let’s just choose the Sooners.
The Only Hard Ones
Louisville and Ohio State can go to hell in a hand basket for all I care.
If you take this week’s Top 25 poll, Louisville will play a total of 0 games against ranked opponents this year. That’s bogus. I understand conferences dictating schedules and all, but you have to try to avoid the Top 25 that well. Statistically speaking, one-fifth of the teams in the country are ranked. Over the course of 12 games a team should play 2.4 ranked opponents. We know that doesn’t always work out. Georgia has to play six teams that are currently ranked. Somebody has to lower that average. That’s where Louisville comes in.
Accordingly, it’s really hard to see who Louisville loses to. Central Florida seems like the most valid choice, although Houston is also undefeated at 5-0.
Ohio State will play one ranked opponents this year according to this week’s Coaches Poll. That comes in the final game of the season against No. 24 Michigan. We’ll all be Wolverines that day.
In the end, it’s hard to see both of these teams getting into a BCS National Championship Game over the SEC Champion. The SEC has done enough over the years to prove itself, and the fact that a record eight teams are ranked this week in the AP Poll goes a long way to show that the conference is stronger and deeper than ever. I anticipate the winner of the SEC (regardless of record) would take on Ohio State in this scenario.
Winning the SEC
Georgia is down right now, but they’re not out in the number 15 spot. The BCS Poll and voters alike favor late season success. If Georgia can win out and feature big wins against Florida (currently 22nd in the nation), Auburn (24th in the AP Poll, but worth a ton if the Tigers can somehow upset A&M this weekend before cruising against FAU, Arkansas and Tennessee) and Georgia Tech (a respectable out of conference opponent), things could look up. Cap all of that off with an upset win over Alabama, and it’s hard to see Georgia not getting a shot at the National Championship.
Avoiding the Others
If Georgia accomplishes the path above, the Bulldogs will finish the season having played seven Top 25 teams and finishing 5-2 in such games. It will all be concluded by defeating Alabama, the nation’s best team. No team currently trailing Georgia in the polls could match that list of accomplishments. So, I don’t foresee Georgia getting jumped if that path is completed.
But this is bogus, so much needs to happen.
A lot needs to happen, but there are still eight weeks of football left. Over eight weeks, it’s entirely possible that:
- #11 South Carolina beats Missouri
- #22 Florida beats Missouri
- #1 Alabama beats LSU
- #3 Clemson beats #5 Florida State
- #11 South Carolina beats #3 Clemson
- #3 Clemson beats #10 Miami in ACC Championship
- #2 Oregon beats #9 UCLA
- #2 Oregon beats #13 Stanford
- #9 upsets #2 Oregon in Pac-12 Championship
- Somebody beats Baylor
But most importantly, Georgia needs to win out.
Now, leave your “Dude, you are crazy!” comments.
That’s all I got.
Posted on October 15, 2013, in ACC, Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Big 12, Blog, Georgia Bulldogs, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, New Big East, Ole Miss, Pac-12, SEC, South Carolina Gamecocks, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.