Our weekly look at how the post-season is shaping up will give you a clear view of what the options are for the Gators and the rest of the SEC, plus an assessment of the BCS and what’s up for Miami and FSU.
We start with the BCS where it appears fairly clear that Southern Cal will play the Michigan/Ohio State winner if the Trojans win out. It might be close between USC and the SEC Champ if both the Gators and Arkansas Razorbacks enter the game 11-and-1, but that would only be the case if it’s Florida since the Trojans routed the Hogs 50-14 at the start of the season.
Rutgers’ stunning jump to number six in the BCS certainly gives the impression the Scarlet Knights can get to the top two by finishing undefeated, but I just don’t see it. Florida and Southern Cal are close, but Western Carolina and a fading FSU team will weaken Florida’s case.
The Gators/SEC’s best case scenario would be for Southern Cal to beat Notre Dame, but lose to either California (fairly possible) or UCLA (highly unlikely). Failing that, both Florida and Arkansas can put themselves in position for strong BCS at-large consideration if they win their two games between now and the showdown in Atlanta.
BCS At-Large Picture
There are four at-large spots in the BCS Bowl bids and the same teams are pretty much in the running with a few exceptions. Texas dropped out, but the Longhorns were a long shot if they failed to win the Big 12 Title game. Auburn is also out, and that really opens the door for the SEC Title game loser. The Fiesta Bowl would have an interest in Arkansas if the Gators win the title game, and The Orange Bowl would be tempted to snag the Gators should Florida come up short in Atlanta.
Southern Cal could knock California out of the picture, but Notre Dame can’t be dismissed as an option even if the Irish lose to USC. They certainly have the TV appeal and would sell more tickets than a second Big East team would. The Sugar Bowl would LOVE a Florida/Note Dame game. Boise State is in with two more victories but winning at Nevada in two weeks is no sure thing.
For the SEC to get two BCS bids the best case scenario is for Florida and Arkansas to get to Atlanta 11-and-1, Southern Cal to win out and Boise State to fall. That would all but guarantee the SEC Title game loser a spot.
Guessing the SEC Pecking Order
This is how I see the bowl bids sorting out with the SEC. For this purpose I am assuming Florida and Arkansas win out and both are in BCS games.
* Auburn ——– Cotton Bowl against Oklahoma or Nebraska
* LSU ———— Capital One Bowl in Orlando against Wisconsin
* Tennessee—— Outback Bowl in Tampa against Penn State
* Georgia——— Chic Fil-A Bowl in Atlanta against Virginia Tech
* Kentucky——- Music City Bowl in Nashville against Wake Forest
* Alabama——– AutoZone Liberty Bowl in Memphis against Houston
* S. Carolina —- Independence Bowl again in Shreveport against Kansas St.
Of course if the SEC Title game loser does NOT get a BCS bid that team will be heading to Orlando with Auburn going to Dallas or possibly Atlanta. That could leave South Carolina looking to claim a bid to a bowl whose affiliated conference failed to qualify enough teams. However, that may be difficult to find since the 12-game season makes 6-and-6 teams eligible.
What Becomes of Miami and FSU
Both traditional superpowers are now 5-and-5 and may not want to play in the post-season if they finish with six losses. Miami will be hard-pressed to get another win with Virginia and Boston College to play and quarterback Kyle Wright out with a broken thumb. The ‘Noles will be in the market for an offensive coordinator and may want to begin that transition immediately if they lose to the Gators.
Either way these are six teams ahead of both in the Atlantic Coast Conference pecking order, which means if both are bowl eligible, one will be sent to Boise, Idaho to play on Smurf turf.
Any guess as to how many tickets each would sell for that one? A better question is, would both teams reject such a bid?