ATLANTA – Georgia came into Saturday hoping to get a reprise of 1980: A game against Notre Dame with the national championship on the line.
Instead, most signs point to the Bulldogs getting a reprise of 1983: A matchup in the Cotton Bowl against Texas.
That’s the most likely possibility, although there was some sentiment after Georgia’s close loss to Alabama that the Bulldogs should get a BCS bid. That will be tough, as Georgia (ranked third in the BCS this week) will have to stay ahead of No. 4 Florida, which was idle.
The Gators (11-1) have probably the best resume' in college football. The Bulldogs can counter with the fact they beat the Gators, and were five yards from winning the SEC championship.
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Georgia head coach Mark Richt was asked on Saturday night if he felt his team should get a BCS bid.
“Well, it's up to whoever is deciding. I'm not in charge of that,” Richt said. “But do I think we are worthy of a BCS Bowl? Yes, I do. I do.”
Alabama head coach Nick Saban was pushing Georgia’s case too, although not at the expense of Florida.
“I think it’s a crying shame if Georgia doesn’t get to go to a BCS bowl game,” Saban said. “They should get to go to a BCS bowl game. They played a tremendous game out there today. That was a great football game by both teams.”
Georgia’s chances would have to come at the expense of Florida, since no more than two SEC teams can make the BCS. When asked later, Saban declined to get into whether it should be Georgia or Florida, so his point seemed aimed at the conference limit.
“I think it’s ridiculous,” Saban said. “I watch teams playing that are 7-5 that are talking about they might go to a BCS game because they won their championship? Something’s not right there.”
The bottom line, however, is only two SEC teams can be picked. Georgia will have to hope voters - whether it be coaches or those in the Harris Poll - were so impressed by Saturday that they keep the Bulldogs above the Gators. But even then, the computer average is one-third of the formula, and the computers have not been as favorable to Georgia.
The Cotton Bowl emerged as the most likely non-BCS destination for Georgia over the past few days. The Capital One has reportedly decided to take Texas A&M, which leaves the Cotton free to pick a team from the SEC East. Indications are that the SEC has pushed the Cotton to pick Georgia, because the Outback Bowl wants South Carolina (and had Georgia last year), and falling to the Chick-fil-A Bowl isn't perceived as fair to the loser of the SEC championship game.
In addition, the Chick-fil-A Bowl is likely to pick Clemson from the ACC, and it desperately wants to avoid a Clemson-Georgia game, considering those two open the 2013 season against each other.