By way of cosmic collision, most would agree the stars have aligned for Georgia this season. With only one quality win, the Bulldogs are on the verge of a national championship appearance.
Let that simmer for a minute. How has that happened during a college football season filled with colossal matchups and down-to-the-wire finishes that have dictated an ever-changing BCS Top 5?
Soft scheduling and a little luck.
Third-ranked Georgia has played a grand total of two ranked teams this season and split those contests. Outside of Will Muschamp’s Gators, Vanderbilt is the only Division IA team it has beaten with a winning record. The Bulldogs were soundly beaten and only two minutes away from being shutout at South Carolina and needed six turnovers to win a sloppy, one-possession affair against Florida in Jacksonville.
Seeing what has unfolded on the field, is Georgia really America’s best one-loss team after Alabama? Take a look at the resume of others in the mix. The Gators are 4-1 against ranked teams and that doesn’t include a road win over Texas A&M who hadn’t yet reaped the benefits of Johnny Football in September. Oregon, perhaps the most dynamic single-loss team, has blown out four ranked opponents and lost by an overtime field goal to another. Collin Klein and Kansas State plummeted after an upset at Baylor despite winning all four of its games against ranked teams.
Late-season stumbles by a couple of unbeatens leaves Georgia in prime position thanks to the BCS. Mark Richt’s club, like it has done in recent years, benefited from losing early. The Bulldogs have won six straight since that loss in Columbia and has consistently moved up in the polls by simply conquering the schedule. No one in Athens is complaining at 11-1, but it seems unfair to others with a more-balanced track record near the top of the rankings. Nonetheless, the Bulldogs have a chance to silence the critics and prove they’re legit Saturday against the Crimson Tide. A win over Nick Saban delivers a shot at the ultimate prize, the program’s first BCS crown.
According to recent reports, the Bulldogs would be a 3-point favorite over unbeaten Notre Dame in Miami. Jarvis Jones and Co. would like nothing more than to give the media and the majority of college football fans the stiff arm in South Beach. It would be a second consecutive signature win over a Top 2 team and one that would solidify Georgia’s spot at the top. But a dream season seems unlikely for a squad that has yet to prove it’s worth against the nation’s best.
Slipping to the Chick-Fil-A Bowl on New Year’s Eve against Clemson would be a fitting matchup for two highly-overrated teams who have struggled against anyone of substance this season.
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