With the SEC regular season over and only the conference championship left to play, it looks like all of the intrigue is gone. I've felt for some time that there would be an All-SEC National Championship game, I just had no idea that this result would basically be set in stone before this weekend. Ironically, the one loss Alabama Crimson Tide are basically assured a spot in the title game while the undefeated LSU Tigers could theoretically play their way out of the game with a bad loss to the Georgia Bulldogs. Some people are griping about it and claiming that its the sign of a broken system. Hogwash. First of all, LSU ain't losing to Georgia. It just isn't going to happen. Secondly, playing for your conference championship is an honor, not an obligation.
Something else interesting is happening in the PAC-12, where my hapless alma mater the UCLA Bruins somehow managed to win the Southern Division and now plays the Oregon Ducks for the conference championship on Friday. To put this in perspective, know that UCLA lost to the USC Trojans 50-0 on Saturday, in a game that amounted to three hours of Lane Kiffin flipping the bird. USC actually won the South but is prohibited from playing for the championship because they are
a bunch of cheaters on probation. Now UCLA is likely to miss a bowl because the extra loss to Oregon will drop them to 6-7. Yeah, in some ways that kinda sucks, but on the other hand, get over it. Line up and play the game. No one ever expected a 6-6 team to go to a conference championship just like no one expects an obvious #2 in the country to be sitting home on easy street on championship weekend without a game to play.
If Oklahoma State blows out Oklahoma, the Tide are going to be sweating it a little bit. If LSU takes care of business as I suspect it will, it won't be sweating at all. I bet if you asked the guys on Alabama, each one of them would give up where they are now to be playing Georgia next weekend. What's more, I bet the kids on LSU are more than happy to play another football game.
Line 'em up, play the game.
This week's predictions are tough because the Capital One Bowl has an interesting decision and everything else flows from there. Any one of the Arkansas Razorbacks, South Carolina Gamecocks or Georgia Bulldogs could head to Orlando. I am going with Arkansas because they have the highest BCS ranking, played by far the hardest schedule and are the best team. But that could end up cutting more than one way.
One other note, it looks like tough luck for the Music City Bowl once again. The last time Vanderbilt ended up there, it was an attendance and financial disaster. Mississippi State could bail this situation out and accept a Music City bid, but given the choice I assume it will opt for a more convenient trip to the Liberty Bowl.
LSU v. Alabama
Capital One Bowl
Arkansas Razorbacks v. Oklahoma Sooners
Georgia Bulldogs v. Nebraska Cornhuskers
South Carolina Gamecocks v. Michigan St. Spartans
Music CIty Bowl
Vanderbilt Commodores v. North Carolina St. Wolfpack
BBVA Compass Bowl
No eligible team.