Scott Michaux

Sports columnist for The Augusta Chronicle. | ScottMichaux.com

Georgia Bulldogs have risen like phoenix in BCS picture

  • Follow Scott Michaux

Remember Oct. 6, 2012?

A perfect fall evening in Columbia. The Gamecocks were driving for another touchdown and a 35-0 lead over the Bulldogs. In case Georgia wasn’t defeated and humiliated enough, South Carolina’s giddy fans were chanting “Over-Rated!” at the team considered the fifth best in the nation at the time.

In the hang-dog aftermath for anyone wearing red instead of garnet, it was hard finding a rosy tint. Some idiot Bulldog fans even delivered eggs and toilet paper at quarterback Aaron Murray’s house back in Athens.

The words of the Bulldogs head coach seemed almost laughable in the context of when they were said.

“Tonight we weren’t very good,” Mark Richt said in his trademark understatement. “But the world didn’t end. We’ve still got a lot of things to play for and a lot of good things can still happen.”

Fast-forward 46 days and it’s almost like Oct. 6 never happened. Murray is back in the good graces of Bulldog Nation. Georgia is still ranked No. 5. It will once again represent the East in the Southeastern Conference championship game. With just a little more help, it could even earn a shot at the BCS title.

Richt’s nonplussed reaction to the South Carolina debacle looks prophetic.

In fact, Georgia hasn’t taken the field a single game this year when its destiny wasn’t in its own hands. By the time the Bulldogs kicked off against Kentucky in their first performance after the Williams-Brice debacle, the Gamecocks had already lost twice and conceded control back to the Bulldogs or Florida Gators.

Las Vegas oddsmakers say Georgia has a 20-to-1 shot of reaching the BCS title game in Miami – behind SEC title opponent Alabama (13/2) and unbeatens Notre Dame (13/2), Oregon (1/1) and Kansas State (3/2).

Richt sounds about as unmoved about it all as he did in the bowels of Williams-Brice last month.

“I don’t worry about it,” he said. “I don’t because I can’t control it. If you worry about stuff you can’t control, you’re really wasting your time and you’re going to make yourself crazy a little bit.

“I can only control what we do on a weekly basis. It’s just like when we lost the first game to South Carolina. Once we lost it, we couldn’t do anything other than control trying to win and hope something good happened, but we weren’t going crazy about it. Of course it happened pretty fast this particular year. Last year it took a long time, but it’s the motivation of still having your goals out in front of you. When it’s mathematically possible to win the East, there’s still hope, so you keep grinding and trying to reach your goal.”

Mathematically, Georgia is very much in the BCS mix. Until Alabama skidded a few rungs on the ladder to fourth this week, the Bulldogs were the highest rated one-loss team in the nation, which is pretty amazing considering the nature of that one loss.

But here they are, in the thick of the national conversation while the team that beat them handily is trying to figure out which lesser bowl it will wind up in.

Of course the only thing that can make a BCS title shot happen for Georgia is winning out the next three weeks. Envisioning wins over Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech are easy enough. That would make the Bulldogs 11-1 for the first time since 2002, when they slid into the Sugar Bowl at No. 3 in the nation.

Beating Alabama in the Georgia Dome is another matter. But the defending BCS champs don’t seem quite as invincible anymore after barely surviving against LSU and then losing a stunner at home to Texas A&M.

But the winner of that game should get heavy consideration from voters who can’t dismiss the six-year streak of SEC dominance on the national title stage.

“In some kind of way two really good teams are going to play in the SEC championship game, and that elevates their status and I think they deserve to go to the (BCS) game,” Alabama’s Nick Saban said this week.

Just as the Bulldogs needed an assist from South Carolina to get back into the SEC East picture, bad things need to happen to other good teams for the BCS house of cards to crumble in front of them.

No. 1 Kansas State has the benefit of not having to deal with a conference title game. So all the Wildcats have to do is keep Collin Klein healthy, not screw up against Baylor and then beat a very beatable Texas team at home to secure a BCS title berth.

If No. 2 Oregon gets through the gauntlet of Stanford, Oregon State and a possible rematch with Southern Cal in the Pac 12 championship game, the Ducks are a lock for a BCS title shot. By that time, the computers will have caught up with the eyeballs in assessing Oregon as championship worthy.

No. 3 Notre Dame has some work to do. Without a conference title to contend with and the lingering memory of what should have been a damning loss to Pitt, the Irish will need to impress with decisive victories over Wake Forest and Southern Cal to try to unseat one of the top two teams and hold off any one-loss SEC challengers.

Former Tennessee coaching loudmouth Lane Kiffin could become the most popular guy in Athens if his Trojans can take out Notre Dame and Oregon in successive weeks.

Since one- or two-loss SEC teams have four of the last six BCS titles and the conference takes up six of the top nine spots in the current BCS standings, a late-season comeback is far from out of the question.

“All of us in the SEC would like to see that happen,” South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said. “I would still say one of our teams has a shot at getting into the final game. I don’t think it’s over yet.”

Hard to believe that one of those teams is the one Spurrier’s program all but buried and left for dead 46 days ago.

Comments (8)

Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Just My Opinion
4669
Points
Just My Opinion 11/15/12 - 04:59 pm
1
1

Steve Spurrier. Don't be

Steve Spurrier. Don't be fooled into thinking that Steve Spurrier actually WANTS Georgia to go to the BCS Championship game so that Georgia can possibly win to carry on the SEC streak. No, Spurrier would rather Georgia go and win so that he and his players can smugly stand up and shout that THEY beat the national champions! Whatever. As a Georgia fan who really dislikes Spurrier...not really Carolina...I think it's great that old Stevie will be watching the SEC Championship game sitting at home in his pajamas and slippers!! Yeah, Georgia may not win, but at least we're there.......again.
Before Carolina fans blow a fuse, make sure you know that I respect Carolina after having been beaten by them the last 3 years. (I'm one of those fans who strongly believe that you shouldn't talk smack to your rival if you haven't beaten them in a couple of years.)

soapy_725
43306
Points
soapy_725 11/15/12 - 05:17 pm
0
0

Not in this lifetime.

Unpublished

The only SEC teams the BCS would like to see in the Championship are Bama or Texas A&M. Preferable against Notre Dame. The BCS cares about money and nothing else. Marketing. Commercial sales and viewer ratings. What will draw a national audience larger than the last BCS Championship. An avid GA fan has predicted no SEC team will be in the BCS Championship. That before Bama lost.

Roll TIDE. 14 Undisputed National Championships and five additional disputed because of segregation. The team America loves to hate. Maybe it is that pesky ENVY. But then Michigan would be the target?

God moved a storm to NJ so that Obama would win. Perhaps He will do the same for Notre Dame.

Young Fred
13778
Points
Young Fred 11/16/12 - 06:33 am
1
1

Just my opinion

SC can go 2 and 10; will be considered a great season in my book, as long as the 2 equals Georgia and Clemson!!! Even if Georgia wins the SEC championship, and one of the undefeated falter, and Georgia has a chance at the National title, then wins said title, there will be a “smudge” on the back of the trophy representing a feathered smack down!!!

HA!!!!!!

I’m a Carolina fan 1st, Georgialina fan 2nd, and SEC fan 3rd.

I want the SEC to keep up their streak of national championships. I’m “fit to chew nails” over the hated Notre Dame being ranked 3, we all know if they even had the easiest of a SEC schedule, they wouldn’t be undefeated. Oh well, it is what it is.

justthefacts
17996
Points
justthefacts 11/16/12 - 07:03 am
2
0

Young Fred

And therein lies SC's problem. That apears to be the goal for SC. Beat UGA. Mission accomplished. But, after that, motivation is gone. UGA views SC as just another team on the schedule. UGA has TN, UF, and Aub (Tech I guess) to stay motivated. These are the teams that get UGA excited.

Riverman1
70693
Points
Riverman1 11/16/12 - 08:47 am
0
0

UGA better start preparing

UGA better start preparing for Clemson in the Sugar Bowl. Then they play the Tigers in Sept. With the right alingment of the stars they could meet for a third time in 2013 in a bowl game. Wouldn't that be something?

F4therTime
4656
Points
F4therTime 11/16/12 - 08:54 am
2
1

They remind me...

Unpublished

of the Falcons. Depends on which team shows up. Sometimes they look unbeatable and sometimes they look like a peewee team.

justthefacts
17996
Points
justthefacts 11/16/12 - 08:54 am
0
0

Great Matchup

If it happens. I see alot of Alabama/Clemson. More UGA/Wisc or Mich State.

csrareader
1200
Points
csrareader 11/16/12 - 10:50 am
0
1

This proves that South

This proves that South Carolina really is irrelevant - you don't have to beat the Gamecocks to win the SEC East Championship!

etlinks
15893
Points
etlinks 11/16/12 - 04:22 pm
1
0

Some mighty interesting

Some mighty interesting comments today. You guys/girls just be thankful for your team and be happy.

Riverman1
70693
Points
Riverman1 11/16/12 - 05:50 pm
0
0

JTF, NOBODY wants to play

JTF, NOBODY wants to play Alabama. Unfortunately, UGA HAS to. I wouldn't go to any bowl they are in.

Back to Top

Loading...