Kevin C. Cox
I don't have any major questions regarding the Power Poll this week. There remain various arguments for how to parse the top six teams, and the bottom remains murky, but we've talked through those issues over the past few weeks. The poll-related question that is most attention-grabbing to me now is the status of Georgia in the national polls. The Dawgs now appear to have a path laid out for them to reach the national title game. They're ranked third in all the major polls, as well as the decisive BCS rankings. It would appear that, if they beat Alabama in the SECCG, they will face Notre Dame for the national championship, unless Notre Dame loses to Southern California.
(Things will get really interesting if Notre Dame loses and then Georgia beats 'Bama. But we'll cross that bridge if and when we have to.)
What I wonder is whether Georgia deserves that spot, if these these events come to pass. I ask this in all seriousness, not out of any animosity towards Georgia. I also ask it because I'm really not sure--this is a tricky question, IMO. Let's say the following plays out: Notre Dame beats Southern California. Georgia beats GT and Alabama. Oregon beats Oregon St., UCLA beats Stanford, and then Oregon beats UCLA in the Pac-12 Championship game. (UCLA has to beat Stanford for Oregon to make it to the Pac-12 Championship.) In this scenario, you have Oregon and Georgia to choose from for Notre Dame's opponent. I'm leaving K-State out of this for the moment. Not only losing to but getting pasted by a very middle-of-the-pack Baylor team is pretty damning, IMO. Who do you pick between Oregon and Georgia? Before you say, "you have to pick the SEC team," take a closer look. SEC proponents typically argue that all other things being equal, the SEC team deserves the spot in the BCS Championship Game by virtue of strength of schedule. However, while SEC teams usually boast good strength of schedule, that's not the case for this year's Georgia team. In this ratings service, Georgia comes in with the 32nd-best strength of schedule. Oregon comes in at ninth. The Ducks have several quality wins, many of them by convincing margins. Georgia has two, one over Florida, and the other over Vanderbilt. (Yes, I think we can say that Vandy is a quality win this year. They have a legitimate shot at finishing the season ranked.) The win over Florida came in a turnover-fest. Of course, a win over 'Bama would speak very well for Georgia, but in the above-mentioned scenario, Oregon would add wins over Oregon St. and UCLA. It might lastly be mentioned that Georgia's loss came in a blowout, while Oregon's loss came in OT, although it should also be mentioned that Oregon lost at home, Georgia on the road.
So, who do you go with, and why?