I'll start by saying that no self-respecting Georgia fan should ever be disappointed in a trip to the Sugar Bowl. Could things have broken better for us? Obviously yes, but we still get a trip to New Orleans with a chance to make our first statement of 2008.
Now, on to my point, and that is language. Specifically, I'm wondering if Frank Luntz has taken a job in the national sports media. Here are the primary examples.
"Georgia didn't even win it's own division!" Now, you could present the same fact by stating that Georgia didn't win it's conference or it's division, but adding the even as a modifier heightens the impact. In fact, it makes it seem like a prerequisite or at least something that's never happened before. Neither statement is true.
Next, "UGA is a 'hot' team" or "UGA and USC are the 'hottest' teams out there right now". Now, in many years, the term 'best' may have been used instead of 'hot'. In fact, WesterDawg currently has a Herbstreit video up on his blog where he made precisely that argument last year in regard to Michigan.
The 'hot' fad is everywhere this year, and it accomplishes two primary things. First, it implies that the team may be playing over it's head and is simply riding a streak.
Secondly, it dismisses the idea that teams should be ranked according to how they are playing today entirely. Now, I will not contest that there are valid arguments for resume ranking, but ranking according to who you believe is the best team out there (particularly when the choices are primarily multiple loss teams) is a perfectly valid way of filling out a poll.
If all we needed to do was analyze schedule strength, then what's the point of having voters at all? At least we should give the job to people who know how to crunch numbers--it seems foolish to even use coaches if they aren't voting based, at least in part, on who's playing the best football today.
What better way to derail a team's chances at the title game than to (1) imply that their major failing is a prerequisite to play in the title game and (2) to dismiss their greatest asset by classifying it in terms associated with streaky team who may be riding luck or simply just playing over it's head?
I love the bowl system, I just really, really hate the narrative.