As Georgia fans, we often tend to get ahead of ourselves. As a group we've already done this twice this year. Once with everyone ready to have Mark Richt fall on his sword after Week 2, and currently with many already assuming we've won the SEC East. Fortunately I didn't jump the gun on the first, but I'm struggling with not believing the latter.
Georgia still needs a loss from South Carolina to get into the SEC East. This is a movie we've seen before. But unlike 2007 when Kentucky was unable to convert late on Tennessee's goal line—a touchdown that would have sent the Dawgs to the SEC Championship and most likely on to the national championship—the probability this go round is more in Georgia's favor with South Carolina's loss of QB Stephen Garcia and RB Marcus Lattimore.
However, as I and others punch our tickets too early, the question has to be asked of Dawg fans:
Would you rather go to the SEC Championship or a BCS game?
The reality has been that the SEC Championship game loser tends to get the short end of the stick when it comes to bowl games, and the SEC third place team generally gets a better bid, and as the case is lately, that bid is an at-large-bid to a BCS game, usually the Sugar Bowl.
I find that there are likely two camps here. One camp will say you play for the SEC, and maybe you get an upset that sends you to the Sugar Bowl anyway. Another camp is going to say that we need better media exposure this year and we just need to get to a BCS game the most direct way possible.
One small fly in the ointment is that the loser of the LSU-UA game will likely only have one loss, be the third place team in the SEC and receive an at-large-bid. However that is based on the notion that the SEC does not play for the national title.
What do Georgia fans want?
For instance, normally the SEC winner receives an invitation from the Sugar Bowl and then the SEC is allowed to receive one additional at-large-bid. However, this year if the SEC winner is selected for the national championship game, the next best team in the SEC, usually the third place team because they have one less loss than the second place team, will receive the SEC bid to the Sugar Bowl.
The implication from the BCS selection rules seem to be that if conditions one through five are met in the rules the SEC would receive an at-large-bid for a third team which would likely then send the second place team in the SEC East to a BCS game.
So the question is, would Dawg fans rather: 1) See USC win out and have a shot at a BCS bowl for recruiting purposes, or; 2) Would you rather win the East and have a shot at upsetting LSU or Alabama?
Personally, I like option No. 2 myself. I think there are actually two prizes behind that door, plus we keep our destiny in our own hands.
Winning the East allows Georgia the chance to play David to LSU or Alabama's Goliath. And an upset there would do more for the Dawgs offseason recruiting than any BCS at-large-bid in my humble opinion. It also gets Georgia back to the championship game for the first time since 2005 for another shot at tying Tennessee for second place for total SEC Championships.
In some of the down time Georgia has faced, and Tennessee for that matter as well, it's often forgotten that those two programs are historically the best two programs in the league behind Alabama.
And that's something I'd like the Dawgs to start reminding folks of, and hopefully in the next few years reminding them of it repeatedly.