The Florida Gators escaped a close one with SEC newcomer Mizzou, and then all eyes in Gator nation turned to Athens to root for the Ole Miss Rebels to beat the Georgia Bulldogs.
Yeah, we all know why Gators fans are hoping the Dawgs lose—if UGA loses to Ole Miss, or Auburn, then the Gators would get to head to Atlanta to play for the SEC Championship Game. That's a big deal, and is ultimately the goal when you play football in Gainesville.
Pardon me for my harsh realism and daring to look at things from a less than common perspective, but if you're a Gators fan, you shouldn't be rooting for Georgia to lose. Not at all. Sure, in theory, getting to Atlanta sounds fantastic. Going to the ATL to have a shot at a title sounds great. That's what you want.
In reality, it means a likely date with the Alabama Crimson Tide. In reality, it means a likely "extra" loss for the Gators and a trip to the Chick-fil-A or Capital One Bowl. Folks, in reality, that really isn't what you want.
If you're Florida, you want to get back to the Sugar Bowl. You want to be in a BCS bowl game. You want to head to New Orleans and talk about what you have coming back next year and how this bowl game will sell with recruits.
You don't want to be in Orlando or Atlanta taking on some Big Ten or ACC team that has four or five losses and no respect nationally. You want to be in the NOLA, playing a team that has some name recognition and a little clout. You want your program on national television punishing some opponent that underestimates just how physical you're going to play.
While in theory, an SEC Championship trip powered by an unexpected UGA loss sounds great, in reality it does not help you get to New Orleans. If Georgia loses to Ole Miss, sure, you go to Atlanta. You'll also take that loss from the Crimson Tide and then have to sit and wait for how far you fall. All the while, the team you beat in Week 6, a team with two losses just like you, will be waiting for their trip to a veritable home game.
Les Miles gets a pat on the back. You get to go to Orlando. Georgia heads to Atlanta. And while you got to play in the SEC Championship Game, you don't end up better off for it, as you're looking up at the BCS bowls, wishing you got to participate.
This plan works for sure if the Gators beat Florida State. A loss to Florida State makes the sprint to get to New Orleans more interesting, as LSU, Florida and Georgia with two losses come down to a numbers game—a numbers game that could find two-loss South Carolina, should they beat Clemson, ahead of the other two-loss squads in the SEC.
It's a different perspective, but certainly one to consider. The SEC Championship Game is a great goal, but so is getting back to a BCS spotlight game. The path to the BCS is easier if UGA is the squad who gets mauled by Alabama in Atlanta. If the Dawgs lose to Ole Miss, or Auburn, then things for the Gators get a little uglier and a trip to New Orleans becomes a real problem.
Just a little food for thought. Barring unforeseen happenings with Alabama, the push to get the SEC's second bid to a BCS bowl game is going to be something to watch.