Georgia S Tray Matthews (left) and Clemson WR Sammy Watkins
There's blood in the water.
The Georgia Bulldogs were picked to win the SEC East in July at SEC Media Days, but Saturday's 38-35 loss to Clemson in Death Valley exposed the team’s weaknesses. The rebuilt defense got torched for 467 yards and the veteran offensive line—supposed to be a strength—looked downright awful, giving up four sacks and struggling in pass protection for the majority of the night.
That's good news for the rest of the SEC East, because if Georgia doesn't solve those two problems, it won't be competing for anything.
But it could be bad news for the SEC's hopes of winning its eighth-straight BCS National Championship.
The ACC routinely makes waves during bowl season for all the wrong reasons. The conference is 3-13 in BCS bowl games, and that ineptitude is a big reason why the conference lacks the benefit of the doubt when postseason matchups are decided.
But Clemson isn't your typical ACC team.
It's a team that looked the part of a national championship caliber squad on Saturday. If it lives up to that hype, it would severely endanger the SEC's streak.
If the discussion for the second spot in the BCS National Championship Game comes down to an undefeated ACC champ and a one-loss SEC champ, the SEC team would get the benefit of the doubt under most circumstances. Florida State could be an exception, but Clemson absolutely would be.
An unbeaten Clemson team with wins over Georgia and intra-state rival South Carolina would absolutely get in over a one-loss SEC champion—even an Alabama team that's on a dynasty run.
Is Clemson a legitimate BCS National Championship contender?
It doesn't matter that Clemson's schedule is a cakewalk outside of the Bulldogs and Gamecocks, save for the meeting with the Seminoles on Oct. 19. Even if Georgia and South Carolina disappoint, they're not going to fall off a cliff. Two wins over two of the top teams in the SEC will give Dabo Swinney's group a ton of legitimacy.
The door is open in the SEC East.
There's no shame in losing to a Top 10 Clemson team, but the holes in Georgia's game were exposed in Saturday night’s loss. That's a good thing for the other six teams in the division (well, except for Kentucky...which lost to Western Kentucky).
It doesn't change the perception of the SEC, but does present another roadblock in the quest for eight straight titles.
That is, of course, assuming Clemson doesn't "Clemson."
That may be assuming too much.