Do you think this year’s Georgia team deserves a shot at the BCS National Championship? You do if you’re in the TCU/Boise State camp. More on that in a minute.
First, both TCU & the Boys from Boise are magnificent teams. TCU in particular. The Horned Frogs defense has been absolutely stellar – albeit against inferior, outclassed competition. Who wouldn't love to see TCU tangle with Oregon, or Boise State v. Cam Newton U.
But in a playoff - not a one-off, made-for-TV Championship. To put either the Horned Frogs or the Broncos in that kind of game rewards mediocrity.
It’s not an argument of individual or even team talent. TCU’s win against an undefeated Utah squad was impressive, notwithstanding the ESPN Gameday hype. To do it on the road, even more so.
But stop sniffing for a moment and focus.
Utah’s best win heading into that game? OT against 5-3 Pitt. And those of you that follow the Big East know that story, and it hasn’t been pretty for Wannstedt. There was also the 28-23 win against 6-4 Air Force.
Both decent teams, but not exactly fear enducing. Facing a talented squad in TCU, Utah showed its true (2010) colors.
TCU’s best win so far this season? You guessed it: Utah. (Maybe Baylor, though the Bears just surrendered 725 yards to OSU, with a back-end loaded schedule could end up 7-5, and whose only significant win was Kansas St. Stop! Don’t you dare say 4-4 Oregon State.)
Which brings us back to Georgia.
Against teams the caliber of which litter the TCU/BSU regular season schedule, Georgia has been world beaters. UL Lafayette? 55-7. Vanderbilt? 43-0. Tennessee? 41-14. Idaho St.? 55-7. TOTAL: 194-28.
In those games, UGA’s QB Aaron Murray looked one step shy of John Elway. 68/102 (67%) for 941 yards, 10 TDs and only 1 INT. Overall, the offense shined, racking up 1,776 total yards, while holding its opponents to a measly 688 (only 30/game rushing).
World class, right?
Outside of the game in Boulder, Georgia’s five losses have all come against BCS conference schools that have been, or are currently, ranked in the Top 25 (@South Carolina, Arkansas, @Mississippi State, and Florida).
During moments in those games the Bulldogs have shinned. But overall, the weight of these challenging contests has revealed the true makeup of this Georgia team.
Flash over to Fort Worth. TCU will only face two teams that were ranked when they played them (see above). Boise State? That 33-30 Va Tech game, the aforementioned Beavers, and Nevada.
Up next for the Georgia Bulldogs? On the road against some school from Auburn, Alabama.
The gravity of this pounding wears on you. Ask LSU. The Tigers victory Saturday came at a high cost – three more starters fell in the effort to beat the Tide. And there’s still more tough competition on the horizon.
Here’s another way of considering it… This Saturday when Mississippi State travels to play Alabama, the loser will take fifth place in the SEC West. You read that right – there’s a good chance Alabama could be near the cellar of its division, and still be one of the better teams in the country.
Yes, you have to play the schedule you’re given. Just like you have to breathe the air you’re given. ‘course, you can always move.
No, we don't think UGA could survive four quarters against either TCU or Boise State. But neither TCU nor Boise State are challenged like their neighbors in the Top 10. Period. They're not even challenged like 5-5 Georgia. They have talented teams that coast through cushy schedules, untested in terms of fortitude.
In any other sport they would be graduated forward into a more competitive surrounding, or play for a junior championship.
For that reason alone they are unworthy of being considered the champion of our sport. And until we have what college football truly needs/deserves (a playoff), or until these mid-major superstar teams move up to face more formidable competition week in and out, their records remain artificially inflated.
Just like their argument for inclusion in our “one-off” Championship game.
Russ Mitchell covers the SEC for www.CollegeFootballNews.com. Please follow him on Twitter @russmitchellsec or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org