By Stephen Evans
Well, that didn’t take long. A week after it appeared the SEC’s chances to play for a seventh straight national championship were all but over, things took a turn for the better over the weekend, as the top-ranked Kansas State Wildcats proved they were a pretender and No. 2 Oregon dropped a nail-biter to Stanford. When the smoke cleared, Notre Dame sat atop the BCS standings, with Alabama and Georgia looming at No.’s 2 and 3, respectively.
So what does it all mean? In essence, the SEC will be guaranteed a spot in the national championship game with a Georgia win over Georgia Tech on Saturday. I know, I know, Alabama also has to win for the guaranteed scenario to play out. But let’s be honest, the Crimson Tide will be rejuvenated by their second chance and will be taking on a putrid 3-8 Auburn squad.
While the Bulldogs will be preparing for Georgia Tech’s tough-to-defend option attack, Georgia coach Mark Richt’s biggest challenge this week will be to quell all of the national championship talk. Immediately after the KSU and Oregon losses, Georgia players began tweeting about visions of Miami, home of this season’s BCS championship game.
The Bulldogs opened as 14-point favorites and should be able to handle their in-state rivals, though it could be a high-scoring affair. That’s one thing Georgia can do, as QB Aaron Murray leads the nation in passing efficiency while RB Todd Gurley is the SEC’s leading rusher among running backs and is just the second Georgia true freshman to rush for more than 1,000 yards (the other was Hershel Walker).
While Georgia Tech still has an outside shot at winning the ACC title and has won four of its last five games, the Yellow Jackets also have bad home losses to Middle Tennessee (49-28) and BYU (41-17). So while it’s not a lay-up for the Bulldogs, it’s certainly a very winnable game, and one that could once again pave the way for an SEC celebration in January.
So after an eventful week, the SEC once again has its sights set on another national championship. All seems right again in the football world.
GEORGIA TECH vs #3 GEORGIA
SAT. NOV. 24 – 11AM / ESPN