2013 BCS: SEC at-Large Squads Should Play in Games over Wisconsin and Louisville
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This weekend was quite possibly one of the most exciting final weeks of the regular season we have seen in college football for quite some time. So many huge games, so many huge victories, and so many blown opportunities.
Now after this whole weekend where so many crazy things happened, the final BCS standings may begin to form and take place.
On Thursday night, Louisville (10-2) went into New Brunswick, New Jersey to knock off Rutgers (9-3) to all but clinch the Big East championship and possibly a BCS berth. Both teams were unranked after losing conference games the week before.
On Friday, No. 21 Northern Illinois (12-1) defeated No. 17 Kent State in the MAC Conference Championship game in Detroit. Kent State had a chance to play for a BCS game had it won.
Later that night, No. 8 Stanford (11-2) defeated No. 16 UCLA (9-4) for the second straight week (this time much closer and at Stanford) in the Pac-12 championship game and clinched its first berth in the Rose Bowl since 1999 and will go for its first victory in the game since 1972.
Some maligned squads, No. 6 Kansas State (11-1) and No. 13 Florida State, both clinched their conference by winning big on Saturday night. The Wildcats will likely play in the Fiesta Bowl while the Seminoles will likely play in the Orange Bowl.
Then there was quite possibly the most surprising matchup of the week. The unranked Wisconsin (8-5) absolutely manhandled No. 12 Nebraska (10-3) by a score of 70-31. The Badgers may have technically clinched their third consecutive appearance in the Grandaddy of them all.
Of course, there was the big game of the day and quite possibly the season: No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 3 Georgia in the SEC Championship game in Atlanta. After an excellent, well-played, back-and-forth game, it was the Crimson Tide (12-1) who prevailed in the end as the Bulldogs (11-2) ran out of time in the red zone.
The defending national champions look to repeat in Miami against the upstart Fighting Irish of No. 1 Notre Dame (12-0), who have enjoyed their best regular season in a long time. No matter how you slice it, this is the matchup that was meant to be and will be a hell of a game.
However, every single year, there has been criticisms of the BCS and its results. Of course, last season was about who No. 1 LSU should have played in the National Championship between Alabama and Oklahoma State.
No, this may be possibly bigger. The SEC is as good as it has been in years, quite possibly its best. Before this past weekend, six SEC teams were in the BCS Top 10, all finishing with at least 10 wins and no fewer than two losses. All should have a shot to play for a BCS bowl game.
These six teams are:
Alabama, SEC Champions
Georgia, SEC East Champions
Florida (11-1, 7-1), who had its biggest wins at Texas A&M, Florida State, and against LSU and South Carolina but also lost to Georgia in Jacksonville.
LSU (10-2, 6-2), who had its biggest wins at Texas A&M and against South Carolina but also lost to Florida and Alabama.
Texas A&M, who had a season defining victory over Alabama in Tuscaloosa.
South Carolina, who had its biggest wins against Georgia and Clemson but also lost to Florida and LSU.
All in all, the SEC is a loaded conference with teams filled with excellent resumes that warrant BCS appearances. They just happened to all defeat each other, which makes the SEC look even more strong as a whole.
Alabama already gets to play in the National Championship, so that leaves five teams to four different BCS bowls. The Fiesta Bowl is likely going between Kansas State and Oregon. The Sugar Bowl could very well go to Florida, as they were the highest ranked of the six that was idle over the weekend.
However, because of some standards of each of the bowls, some berths may end up going to two undeserving, unranked teams, Louisville and Wisconsin.
Louisville finished in a four-way tie in an eight team conference (in terms of conference record) with Rutgers, Cincinnati and 7-5 Syracuse.
Wisconsin only won a right to play in its conference championship as a result of the bowl bans for Ohio State and Penn State, who both finished with better overall records than the Badgers. The Buckeyes, in fact, finished 12-0 and were ranked No. 4 in the AP polls in the final week.
This isn't right or fair to the SEC teams who didn't win their divisions or the conference.
This is really how the BCS should end up:
National Championship: No. 1 Notre Dame (Independent) vs. No. 2 Alabama (SEC champions)
Fiesta Bowl: No. 4 Oregon (Pac-12 at-large) vs. No. 5 Kansas State (Big 12 co-champions)
Sugar Bowl: No. 3 Florida (SEC at-large) vs. No. 11 Oklahoma (Big 12 co-champions)
Orange Bowl: No. 12 Florida State (ACC champions) vs. No. 8 LSU (SEC at-large)
Rose Bowl: No. 7 Stanford (Pac-12 champions vs. No. 9 Texas A&M (SEC at-large)
No. 10 South Carolina should earn a berth in Big 12 vs. SEC bowl, the Cotton Bowl Classic, a non-BCS but prestigious bowl game. However, this leaves Georgia out of the BCS picture, but voters may look at its blowout loss to South Carolina as well as its close loss in the SEC title game to 'Bama and vote them out.
It may not be right to go against tradition, much like in the 2010-11 bowl season when TCU played in the Rose Bowl (when Oregon, the Pac-10 champion, played in the national championship) and Stanford, a Pac-10 at-large, played in the Orange Bowl.
However, it is right to reward the SEC for being arguably above every conference in the land. They cannot be denied. After all, if Alabama wins, it will mark seven straight seasons the national championship is won by the SEC.
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