Friday, November 18, 2011
In the mailbag: What if Georgia wins SEC?
By ESPN.com staff
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To 'ze notes!
Andy from Bend, Ore., writes: It seems that no one is mentioning their thoughts on the outcome of a scenario in which Georgia wins the SEC championship game. This doesn't seem too far fetched in that Georgia is demonstrating its ability to score and defend. Much like the Ducks, they appear to be getting better each week. While LSU, with it sharing time at the QB position, appears to have possibly peaked. Assuming LSU and Alabama win out (regular season) and Georgia wins the SEC championship matchup, what happens to the National Championship matchup?
Ted Miller: If Georgia beats LSU for the SEC title, Georgia would go to the Sugar Bowl, and it would be left up to the BCS standings to make the national championship matchup. And it would be a heck of a quandary.
Oklahoma State, if still undefeated, would be one team. Then it would come down to a showdown of one-loss teams between Alabama, LSU and Oregon.
How would the polls react? How would the computers react? Hard to say.
My first inclination, based on how difficult LSU's schedule has been -- with wins over Oregon, West Virginia, Alabama and Arkansas -- would be that LSU still would play for the title, even if it lost to Georgia in the SEC championship game.
But I called SEC blogger Chris Low to see what he thought, and he sagely noted that then we'd be acting like the SEC championship game never happened. Which, you know, would be hard to do because SEC folks talk about their SEC championship A LOT.
There's also something about a team losing its last game -- failing on a big stage -- with so much at stake.
But, if Alabama or Oregon went to the title game, we'd be ignoring LSU's superior body of work, which -- oh, by the way -- included head-to-head wins over the Crimson Tide and Ducks.
I called ESPN's BCS guru Brad Edwards, and he also favored LSU's chances. But he noted plenty of variables, such as how teams play down the stretch as well as the margin of victory in Atlanta.
"This is a long way of saying, I don't know," Edwards concluded.
So that's what I'm saying: There is no right call on this one. It would be a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. And very BCSed.
Ryan from Salt Lake City writes: How do you think Chip Kelly, David Shaw and Lane Kiffin would be doing if they were missing Darron Thomas, Andrew Luck and Matt Barkley, respectively? Not too well, I'd imagine. For Utah to be 6-4 with Jon Hays at QB says something about Kyle Whittingham. If Utah goes 8-4 I don't see how you can say that any of the above mentioned coaches deserves to be COY over Coach Whit. Do you disagree?
Ted Miller: I don't think anyone doubts Kyle Whittingham as a head coach. He's proven. Heck, he's beaten Alabama in the freaking Sugar Bowl. And it's admirable that he's stuck around when other, perhaps "bigger" programs came calling.
The Utes' surge also has been impressive. They went from 0-4 in the Pac-12 to rejoining the South Division race. And if the Utes end up winning the South at 8-4 overall, and Oregon and Stanford lose again, I'd say Whittingham would be a good choice for Pac-12 coach of the year.
That said, some of Utah's success this season is due to scheduling. Utah doesn't play either Oregon or Stanford, and its last three wins were over Oregon State, Arizona -- both 2-8 -- and UCLA at home in the snow. The Bruins' only road win was at Oregon State.
That said, take II: Let's not overstate that, either. This three-game winning streak also sets the Utes up in the conference ahead of three quality programs. That "Utah is getting exposed!" talk from a month ago, you might have noticed, has been significantly muted of late.
Tom from Phoenix writes: My question: if UCLA, ASU, and Utah lose their final two games, who represents the Pac-12 South in the title game? Technically, UCLA should go because it would be tied with ASU at 4-5 in the conference and won the head-to-head matchup. But the Bruins would also be 5-7, so if they won the title game they would be 6-7 and still not eligible for a bowl (I think). I know this scenario is extremely unlikely, but as a U of A fan, I don't have any bowl scenarios for my own team to occupy my time.
Ted Miller: If UCLA, Arizona State and Utah all lose their final two games, UCLA would go to the Pac-12 title game at 5-7.
If the Bruins upset the North Champion, they would be Pac-12 champions. Yes, with a losing record. And, in order to go to the Rose Bowl, the conference office would have to apply to the NCAA for a waiver that would allow the Bruins to play.
Also, in that scenario, if the Bruins lost the title game and finished 5-8, they would not go to a bowl game.
And, yes, if any of this came to pass, commissioner Larry Scott would be most unhappy.
Mason from Atlanta writes: In your opinion, would you rather see an Oregon-LSU rematch or an Alabama-LSU rematch and why? That is, if Oklahoma State were to lose along the way.
Ted Miller: I'd rather see Oregon-LSU.
I type that as the Pac-12 blogger. If I were the SEC blogger, I'd probably type LSU-Alabama.
But, as a college football fan, I'd rather see Oregon-LSU. While a lot of folks sold LSU's 9-6 overtime win as being all about dominant defense, it was at least 30 percent about poor, unimaginative offense. I suspect a rematch would look much the same, while I don't think Oregon-LSU would.
Still, if Oregon and Alabama were to play on a neutral field on Saturday, I'd pick Alabama to win. Just as I'd pick LSU to win a rematch.
Of course, if Oregon dominates USC on Saturday and then rolls through Oregon State and the Pac-12 championship game in overwhelming, ludicrous speed fashion, I -- and lots of other folks -- might change my mind, which might mean a Ducks promotion in the human polls.
Victor from Eugene, Ore., writes: I think every Duck fan should be lobbying and fighting for a playoff in college football. I say this because of what people say about their recent losses under Chip: other teams have too much time to prepare for the offense. Now if the system had a playoff where you can't create a plan to slow the Ducks offense for five weeks, then Oregon would have a better chance to win against good teams from other conferences. They might instead have to prepare for other teams to play, and only have a week or two to get ready, which is still better odds then five weeks. Would you concur?
Ted Miller: Makes sense, considering that Chip Kelly is 31-5 in two-plus seasons and no team has beaten him without at least two weeks to prepare. And four of those five came with at least a month to prepare.
But don't hold your breath on a playoff, particularly one that goes on over multiple weeks like the NFL.
Grant from Eugene, Ore., writes: Don't you think when a guy and his brother make a bet to see who can appear in a Bill Simmons or Pac-12 mailbag first, and the guy does appear in a Bill Simmons mailbag, the brother should honor that bet and not pretend like the bet was only about the Pac-12 mailbag? Don't you think?
Ted Miller: If I had a dollar for everyone who made this bet, I'd like have ... a dollar.
You should honor your bets. Or this guy will come after you.