Florida Football: Why the Gators Remain in Prime BCS Championship Game Position

Neil ShulmanCorrespondent INovember 16, 2012

I want to preface this insane reality by saying two things.

First of all, the entire BCS is garbage.

I know it, you know it, the morons who dreamed up the scheme know it, and coaches, players and fans around the nation know it. So when I get into computer rankings and numbers later on, please know that I hate all of it.

But I'll get to a better solution later in the month.

Second, in no way at all does Florida deserve to win a national championship this year.

No championship team turns the ball over six times against their biggest rival in the divisional championship game, and no championship team needs a walk-off blocked punt touchdown to beat a mediocre team from the Sun Belt.

That said, this is college football, where undeserving teams get rewarded due to other teams collapsing when the voters are actually paying attention. This is a sport in which November becomes footballpalooza, because of all the teams ranked No. 3-9 hoping and praying everybody ahead of them loses.

As it stands right now, if the Gators beat Jacksonville State and Florida State (and believe me, that is an enormous if), No. 1 Kansas State loses to No. 15 Texas, No. 2 Oregon loses to either No. 13 Stanford, No. 16 Oregon State or in the Pac-12 Championship Game and No. 3 Notre Dame loses at No. 18 USC, the BCS Championship Game in Miami will feature the winner of the SEC Championship Game... and... you guessed it, the Gators of Florida.

That's right, the Gators are just three upsets away from returning to Miami, where four years ago Tim Tebow and co. lifted the crystal ball.

Of course, Florida has to do its part too, and that's no sure bet either.

But it isn't all that unrealistic to believe Florida will make it to the BCS Championship Game.

Kansas State has looked good all year, while Texas hasn't. The Longhorns are desperate to salvage what appeared to be a wrecked season and perhaps make a BCS Bowl game with a little bit of help around the Big 12.

Taking down the probable Big 12 champions is a pretty good way to make a case.

It would show bowl selectors that they've grown leaps and bounds since back-to-back awful defensive performances against West Virginia and Oklahoma.

While this game is in Manhattan, I believe Texas' defense will put up a fight and keep it close.

If Texas is desperate, imagine the feeling at USC.

The Trojans, the preseason pick to win the national championship, are not only not even in contention anymore, they're looking at a finish barely above .500. Even if they beat UCLA, they will sit at 8-3 heading into the Notre Dame game.

8-4 is not what you want to see from your preseason No.1 team, and 7-5 is even less so.

A loss to UCLA, and USC will have lost its Pac-12 championship hopes and will be sporting an ugly 7-4 record. The desire to salvage something, anything from the wreckage of this season could pull USC through against Notre Dame, win or loss against UCLA.

The following scenario is only valid if both Texas and USC come through.

The Gators won't jump an unbeaten Notre Dame or Kansas State because both teams hold the computer rankings over Florida and lead in both polls comfortably.

That's not true of the other major unbeaten BCS team in the mix.

If there's an unbeaten team that Florida (and, of course, the SEC Champion) could jump with one loss, it's Oregon. Remember, for Florida to be 11-1, they will have beaten a Top 10 Florida State team in Tallahassee. The Gators already own the computer ranking over Oregon at this moment by a good margin (.920% to .870%).

Trouble is, Oregon leads the two polls by about .200%—roughly four times Florida's lead in the computers.

Then remember that the polls are worth twice as much as the computers, since there are two of them.

A Gator win in Tallahassee changes all that.

The Seminoles are No. 10 in the BCS but No. 6 in both polls. It's because of the computers (No. 17) that the Noles are so low in the BCS.

But the Gators already lead Oregon in the computers, so that doesn't matter.

If Oregon beats Stanford, Oregon State and its Pac-12 Championship Game opponent, and Florida wins at FSU, the Gators will still lead in the computers, because even though those three wins are more impressive than the one win at FSU, the Gators' overall body of work (wins vs. No. 7 LSU, at No. 8 Texas A&M, vs. No. 9 South Carolina and at No. 10 FSU) trumps Oregon's.

The Ducks have barely even played a ranked team to this point, while Florida has played four currently ranked in the Top 10 and will play another.

The polls are another story.

The Gators will skyrocket in both human polls with any type of win at the sixth-ranked team's house. Maybe not enough to completely overtake Oregon and erase that .200% margin, but definitely enough to slice that margin in half.

However, that's not enough to vault the Gators over the Ducks.

So for Florida to jump an unbeaten Oregon in the BCS, the Gators need to go out to Tallahassee and truly crush the Seminoles, or at least beat them by double digits to show voters that it was a solid win. Doesn't matter how the game actually played out, all that matters is the final score, because honestly, some of these voters are true idiots and all they look at is the final score.

Then it becomes a waiting game with Rece Davis and BCS Countdown on the last weekend of the season.

It's all very interesting, because Florida has an even bigger lead on Alabama in the computers than it does on Oregon (Alabama is at .850%) and what appears to be an insurmountable lead over Georgia (UGA is at .810%).

That's right, Florida is ahead of all these teams in the computers, yet Oregon is ahead of Alabama and Georgia.

All three teams have substantial leads in the polls over Florida, but a Florida victory at Florida State could cut that margin dangerously thin.

Remember, in the SEC Championship Game, either Alabama or Georgia has to lose. One of those teams will have two losses and will drop behind Florida.

If it comes down to unbeaten Oregon and one-loss Florida, Gator fans would have to swallow their pride and root for Georgia to win an even uglier game than the one we saw in Jacksonville, since Georgia leads Florida by less in the polls than Alabama. 

The whole situation here is very unlikely to work out for Florida.

The SEC Champion would almost certainly get the nod over Florida, but if Oregon loses a game, all that means is that Florida will be wearing its away jerseys for the BCS Championship Game.

In addition to being the unbeaten team Florida could most likely jump, Oregon is also the team that is most likely to lose. They will play three ranked teams in a row, starting with Stanford, then Oregon State on the road and then the Pac-12 Championship Game.

They showed some serious holes on defense against USC, and I haven't forgotten about the 34 points Arkansas State hung on them on the first weekend of the season, or the 26 points put up by a 2-8 Washington State team.

This defense is very susceptible to giving up a lot of points, and it only takes one game for the offense to not cover for the defense to blow the season. They get the next best three shots of the season (after USC) in each of the next three weeks, and I wonder if they'll get tired.

So... you never know.

We've seen crazier things happen in November before, and with three upsets happening ahead of Florida, the winner of the SEC Championship Game will play Florida for the BCS Championship.


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