Six inches. That's how close Georgia came to the BCS national title game. Bryant Hahnfeldt's kick in the closing moments of the Vanderbilt-Tennessee game went off the left upright and, apparently, so did Georgia's hope for the BCS title game. Had it been six inches to the right, Georgia would have gone to the SEC Championship game and likely soundly beaten a gimpy LSU squad, setting themselves up for a showdown with Ohio State.
But that's not what happened, and life goes on. For a consolation prize, Georgia gets a trip to the Crescent City, which is and has been the most overrated city in all the land. (If you've never been, you should go, because you'll likely have the time of your life. But, if you are strapped for cash, I've found a kit to replicate a New Orleans experience. Ordinarily, this kit goes for $129.99, but as an exclusive for Dawgsports' readers, I'll give you a snapshot of what this kit entails: Just gather 100 gallons of urine, a metric ton of plastic green and purple beads, 25,000 of your closest red and black friends, twenty-five of which should be females that are stupid enough to believe that what happens in a crowded alley full of cameras stays in a crowded alley full of cameras, and mix into a lecherous back alley that might be 20 feet across. Good times, I tell you. Good times. [/crotchety old man diatribe])
Getting back to... whatever it is I was doing...
Oh, yes... I believe that a team should win its conference to be considered for the national title game, but I also believe that all the participating conferences should play on an equal playing field. If half the conferences have a conference championship game, the other conferences should be required to adopt the same. If not, then all conferences should be judged by the same criteria that the conferences without championship games are judged. For example, two-loss Southern Cal shares the conference championship with Arizona State. USC has the tie-breaker, of course, but Arizona State will go down in the annals of PAC-10 history as co-champs of the conference, no? Yes. They do. Similarly, West Virginia holds the tie-breaker over UConn, but they share the Big East title. USC and Cal shared the Pac Ten title last year. Ohio State and Penn State shared the Big Ten title in 2005. Iowa and Michigan shared the title in 2004, and there was a 4-way tie in the Big East in 2004. Ohio State shared the title with Iowa (both at 8-0) in 2002, and went on to win the national title. USC was co-champs again with Washington State that year.
So, if a conference can have multiple champions, how can you fault Georgia for playing in a conference that believes having multiple champions is patently absurd? If the SEC played under the Pac Ten's rules or the Big Ten's rules or the Big East's rules, Georgia would be in a three-way tie for the conference crown with Tennessee and LSU since all three teams finished the regular season conference play at 6-2. Therefore, Georgia would technically be conference champions. The one technicality that the talking heads kept bringing up was that Georgia "didn't even win their own division." Of course, if we acknowledge co-champs, then you must also agree that Georgia was co-champs of the East (not that we're putting up a banner or anything... I don't believe in celebrating these things unless you win them outright) making that a moot point. And, under a similar set of criteria that other teams in participating conferences are judged, Georgia would technically be considered a conference co-champ, even though the thought is dumb, dumb, dumb.
But, given all that. I don't have a problem with Georgia being excluded from the BCS title game. I wouldn't have them playing for the title, either. But I would have them excluded for entirely different reasons... like, say, the merits of their season compared to those of LSU, Virginia Tech, and Oklahoma. Saying they didn't win their own division or their conference is a straw man and a red herring all wrapped up conveniently in an irrelevant logical fallacy and served chilled with a side of hypocrisy from the World Wide Leader's panel of talking heads at worst, and judging teams using different criteria at best.