Florida Football: How the Gators Can Make It to the BCS Championship Game
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Despite a horrific loss to Georgia, the Gators are very much alive for a BCS Championship.
Yes, a BCS Championship.
Now, Gator fans, this may be very difficult, but we all need to become fans of Nick Saban and Lane Kiffin for the rest of the year. Because if their teams win out, lots of doors are opened for the Gators to control their own destiny. The Gators will almost certainly be a top-five team at the end of the regular season if everybody, including them, wins out, because this means they will have beaten another top-10 team in their own stadium (FSU).
That's the worst-case scenario.
Then it just becomes a game of hoping that everybody ahead of them (except for Alabama) loses. We all know what happens to the winner of the SEC Championship Game, don't we (as long as they're ranked in the top five)? If not, see any college football season from 2006 through 2011.
Think about it like this. Alabama, Kansas State, Notre Dame, Oregon, LSU and Georgia are ranked ahead of the Gators. Alabama plays LSU this Saturday, and beating them would knock the Tigers behind the Gators. USC plays Oregon and Notre Dame, and beating them would put them both in the one loss pool with the Gators, and as history tells us, the one-loss SEC team always gets the nod over anybody else.
That just leaves Kansas State as the only unbeaten aside from Alabama, and if Georgia loses to Ole Miss and Florida upsets an unbeaten Alabama team for the SEC Championship, the Gators are a lock to make the BCS Championship Game against Kansas State.
Will Alabama, USC and Ole Miss win and help Florida?
So to sum this up, three things need to happen: Alabama and USC need to win out, and Ole Miss has to upset Georgia. That's not at all farfetched.
Everything is the same as above, except that Georgia beats Ole Miss and Auburn. USC would still have to beat Notre Dame and Oregon to drop them into the one-loss pool with Florida, and Alabama would have to beat LSU and then Georgia in the SEC Championship. But it gets more interesting.
It's conceivable to believe that a one-loss Florida team could jump an unbeaten Kansas State by ripping a top-10 FSU team to shreds in Tallahassee, but it's too much of a risk. To be safe—sorry, Collin Klein—Kansas State has to lose a game. Gator fans would breathe much easier if Kansas State had a loss, because then, assuming the other conditions held true, that would leave only Georgia and Alabama ahead of the Gators, because again, the one-loss SEC teams always come first in the BCS Standings.
Then, we all know what has to happen next: Alabama has to beat the hell Out of Georgia and do their "Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer" on them. Alabama needs to leave no doubt about which team is better so the voters don't pick a Bulldogs-Crimson Tide rematch.
So, in this scenario, who would be next in line to face the Crimson Tide? You guessed it: the Gators of Florida.
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This is the most old-fashioned one, and the simplest of the three: Ole Miss beats Georgia, and Florida wins out in big fashion. That's all. If the Gators crush their next four opponents, including FSU on the road, the Gators are almost guaranteed to be ranked in the top five regardless of what happens with Alabama-LSU, USC-Oregon or USC-Notre Dame.
The other equally certain component to this scenario is that the Gators' SEC Championship Game opponent will be a top-five team. The Gators don't have to obliterate that team, just beat them, and as history says, the SEC champion will make it to the BCS Championship Game.
Of course, if the SEC Championship Game is No. 3 from the West and No. 5 Florida, there is a chance that the six-year streak will end and two non-SEC teams will be picked, but there's an equally strong chance a one-loss SEC champion will jump an unbeaten non-SEC team. It's literally a 50-50 chance.
The absolute worst that can happen for Florida if it wins out would be the SEC cannabalizing itself and three teams sitting there with one loss. This would mean LSU beats Alabama, making four one-loss teams, and then of course, one would have to lose in the SEC Championship Game to cut it to three.
In that case, the Gators would get a Capital One Bowl bid, and likely as a top-five team. Is that really so bad for Will Muschamp in his second year? Getting gypped in the bowl process isn't Muschamp's fault, and going 11-1 really shows how well he had this team ready to play.
But I really don't think Gator fans need to worry yet.
We know that as of right now, at least two teams ranked ahead of Florida are guaranteed to lose a game from now until the bowl selection process.
We also know from history that there are quite a few unbeaten teams at the two-thirds mark of the season. Usually, only one of them or none of them finish that way. November is always a crazy month filled with upsets, each one bigger and more stunning than the one before it.
So, all things considered, the Gators are in a good spot. They just need a little help in order to be in a great spot.
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