System won't pick true champion

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There are two teams in this country better than all of the rest right now.

Georgia's Knowshon Moreno (24) and Reshad Jones (9) celebrate after Georgia's 31-17 win over Georgia Tech in Atlanta on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2007.  Associated Press
Associated Press
Georgia's Knowshon Moreno (24) and Reshad Jones (9) celebrate after Georgia's 31-17 win over Georgia Tech in Atlanta on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2007.

Here's the problem: They won't be playing each other in 2008.

Georgia and Southern California are the top teams in the country and deserved a chance to find out which team was better.

Instead, the Trojans are bound for the Rose Bowl, their annual getaway destination. Georgia is headed to New Orleans to play in the Sugar Bowl, the stepchild bowl of the BCS this year. Hawaii is the opponent; acquiring tickets should be a breeze.

Georgia and Southern Cal were unquestionably the hottest teams at the end of the season. But did the Bulldogs and Trojans deserve a slot in the BCS Championship game?

Not under the current system.

LSU, as well as Oklahoma and Virginia Tech, hurdled Georgia in the final BCS polls Sunday because coaches in the USA Today poll and voters in the Harris Interactive poll deemed that winning a conference title was tantamount to playing for the national championship. Georgia, of course, didn't even play for the SEC title.

As much as coach Mark Richt lobbied for the Bulldogs late Saturday night and early Sunday morning, he couldn't disguise the fact that Georgia was in a lose-lose situation without a league title.

He continually pointed out the BCS had no guidelines stipulating that a team had to win its conference to play for a national title. The voters decided to police it themselves, though, and helped prevent what happened with Nebraska in 2001 and Oklahoma in 2003.

It's a shame, too. The way Georgia played the past six games, LSU's chances of beating the Bulldogs would've been as good as Kirk Herbstreit reporting accurate information about Les Miles.

Blame college football for the most flawed system of how to determine a champion in sports. But also blame Georgia for not making the most of its opportunities. The only way a team can put itself in position to win the SEC is by putting a high priority on its division games. Georgia slipped against South Carolina in September and didn't show up at Tennessee a month later. If Georgia wins one of those games, and wins the SEC, the Bulldogs would've been a bona fide BCS No. 1.

The Bulldogs lost both and suffered the consequences. Playing for and winning a national championship consists of being at the right place at the right time. Georgia was there two weeks ago by beating Georgia Tech. LSU was there this past Saturday. That's what counts in a what-have-you-done-lately college football world.

A playoff is the only way to determine which team is No. 1. Until that happens, there will be more teams such as Georgia and more debate about who actually is the nation's best.

Reach John Kaltefleiter at john.kaltefleiter@onlineathens.com.

Comments (6) Add comment
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alwilli
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alwilli 12/03/07 - 12:30 am
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BCS should be called B.S.

BCS should be called B.S.

hobo
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hobo 12/03/07 - 08:13 am
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a sorry state of afairs how

a sorry state of afairs how can a team ranked 4th not be in the championship game after the two topped ranked teams lose. LSU was ranked lower and gets a shot go figure -this is a beauty contest not a valid system

1980reader
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1980reader 12/03/07 - 08:32 am
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I can't complain too much--we

I can't complain too much--we failed to take care of business against the Chickens or the Vols when it counted. But it is hilarious how the same ESPN hacks who were wailing to get Michigan in the title game last year--when they didn't win their conference either--were so determined to keep a Georgia out because we didn't win the SEC. Oh well, go LSU. Let's keep the SEC undefeated record against the Luckeyes going.

cones
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cones 12/03/07 - 10:04 am
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This is the most biased crap

This is the most biased crap I have seen in a paper. Georgia isn't even close to one of the elite teams in the country, and are getting credit for winning games against teams playing like crap at the end of the year. Not to mention, they were just barely squeaking by in some of the those games. If this writer wants to blame anyone, blame the coaches. They have more say than almost anything else in the BCS, and they down-voted Georgia yesterday, and rightfully so. Their wins over quality teams doesn't even compare to the other elite schools. I don't think Ohio St. should be there either, but Georgia certainly doesn't even come close. The idiot who wrote this article might actually want to start watching football someday.

sonewall
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sonewall 12/03/07 - 10:31 am
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No kidding CONES. You'd

No kidding CONES. You'd think UGA hadn't been embarrased by South Carolina, who lost their last 5 games, and completely and utterly dominated by the Tennessee Volunteers. Georgia fans are the absolute worst at whining when things don't go their way. Next year, try winning enough games to get into the Conference championship, and then maybe you'll get a chance to go. This type of writing is what makes me pull against Georgia every time they play. As my Grandmother would say "Quit-yer-bellyachin"

NotyourDadsBuick
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NotyourDadsBuick 12/03/07 - 10:34 am
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Two words: Sour grapes. With

Two words: Sour grapes. With all the resultant whining from Georgia fans (in spite of their two losses and not even playing in the SEC championship), it makes one wonder if the BCS knew exactly what it was doing in making sure the crybabies aren't playing in a more significant game against a worthy opponent (c'mon, the Rainbows?!). This is as bad as it gets for Georgia: If they win, everyone will have expected them to. If they lose, they become the butt of some very bad jokes leading into next season. (If I'm not mistaken, LSU, VT, and OU all won their conference championships.)

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