Orange Bowl

BCS Standings: Week 14

 
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  BCS Harris Poll USA Today Computer Rankings
RK TEAM AVG PVS RK PTS % RK PTS % AVG A&H RB CM KM JS PW %
1 Notre Dame .9979 1 1 2869 .9979 1 1469 .9959 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1.000
2 Alabama .9236 2 2 2740 .9530 2 1398 .9478 3 5 3 5 3 7 4 .870
3 Georgia .8911 3 3 2599 .9040 3 1341 .9092 4 4 5 7 5 4 3 .860
4 Florida .8882 4 5 2435 .8470 5 1265 .8576 2 2 6 2 2 2 2 .960
5 Oregon .8626 5 4 2507 .8720 4 1277 .8658 5 6 2 4 6 3 7 .850
6 Kansas State .7735 6 6 2229 .7753 7 1114 .7553 6 3 4 6 11 6 9 .790
7 LSU .7357 7 7 2142 .7450 6 1124 .7620 8 10 8 9 4 9 8 .700
8 Stanford .7299 8 8 2059 .7162 9 1008 .6834 6 7 7 3 7 5 6 .790
9 Texas A&M .6861 9 9 2038 .7089 8 1076 .7295 11 12 11 10 10 11 10 .620
10 South Carolina .6689 12 10 1862 .6477 10 972 .6590 8 9 10 8 9 8 5 .700
11 Oklahoma .6129 13 11 1706 .5934 11 878 .5953 10 8 9 12 8 10 12 .650
12 Nebraska .5393 14 13 1493 .5193 13 765 .5186 12 11 12 11 12 13 11 .580
13 Florida State .4645 10 12 1614 .5614 12 829 .5620 19 22 16 16 23 21 18 .270
14 Clemson .4570 11 14 1446 .5030 14 720 .4881 14 16 13 14 20 0 16 .380
15 Oregon State .3790 15 15 975 .3391 17 410 .2780 13 13 14 13 13 12 13 .520
16 UCLA .3304 17 16 919 .3197 16 445 .3017 15 15 23 17 15 16 19 .370
17 Kent State .2512 23 18 705 .2452 19 337 .2285 18 20 15 15 0 0 15 .280
18 Texas .2492 16 20 564 .1962 21 312 .2115 17 14 20 20 16 14 22 .340
19 Michigan .2094 19 23 434 .1510 24 158 .1071 15 17 25 19 14 17 14 .370
20 Boise State .2030 22 17 817 .2842 15 479 .3247 30 0 24 0 0 0 0 .000
21 Northern Illinois .1936 NR 19 619 .2153 18 377 .2556 23 23 19 21 0 0 23 .110
22 Northwestern .1865 NR 21 479 .1666 20 314 .2129 21 19 0 22 21 23 20 .180
23 Oklahoma State .1646 21 25 392 .1363 NR 129 .0875 19 18 17 25 17 15 0 .270
24 Utah State .1171 NR 22 438 .1523 22 264 .1790 28 0 21 0 0 0 24 .020
25 San Jose State .0974 NR NR 118 .0410 NR 105 .0712 21 21 22 18 0 25 17 .180

Stars align for Georgia's shot at title game

When Kansas State and Oregon both lost in a span of five minutes Nov. 17, the loudest cheers came from South Bend, Ind.

But did you hear the barking in Georgia?

Two big obstacles in the Bulldogs’ national title quest had been swept away, leaving a clear path to Miami. Take care of Georgia Tech and enter the SEC championship game for the right to play for the crystal football. While folks in Florida and Oregon swallowed their pride and rooted for Lane Kiffin and USC to beat Notre Dame on Saturday night, Georgia didn’t have to pay attention.

As soon as Mark Richt’s team finished a 42-10 walloping of Georgia Tech, it knew where it stood. Sunday’s BCS standings merely confirmed it comes down to No. 3 Georgia and No. 2 Alabama for the right to play No. 1 Notre Dame on Jan. 7 in Miami.

There are two ways to reach the title game in the pre-playoff era. Run the table, like Notre Dame has. Or lose once and get some help along the way, like Georgia has.

This fall, no one-loss team has had the stars align more than the Bulldogs.

Think about it: They got a break long before the season kicked off because their schedule didn’t include SEC West heavyweights Alabama and LSU. And while few knew it at the time, Georgia also benefited from not facing Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M.

The Bulldogs lost a game ugly -- 35-7 to South Carolina -- but lost it relatively early, too, on Oct. 6. They benefited from South Carolina losing its next two games, but never falling out of the top 15 in the polls.

After the South Carolina game, Georgia faced only one other major test in the regular season -- an Oct. 27 date with rival Florida. Although the Gators had the more impressive résumé, with wins against LSU and South Carolina, it wouldn’t matter if they didn’t beat Georgia. They didn’t, and the Bulldogs gained the tiebreaker and an easy path to the SEC East title.

The dreaded late loss claimed Oregon and Kansas State, while other potential title contenders like LSU, Stanford, Texas A&M and even South Carolina all suffered two losses before the stretch run, knocking them out of the race. Alabama also had a late loss but, like Georgia, won the game it needed to win (LSU).

Florida still has a much stronger overall résumé than Georgia -- wins against Texas A&M, LSU, South Carolina and Florida State -- and a stronger average computer ranking (No. 2) than the Bulldogs (No. 4). But Georgia’s head-to-head win combined with its chance to beat the defending national champ in the SEC title game ends any debate.

It would be different if, say, Stanford hadn’t lost to Washington. Or if LSU had lost only to Alabama. Or if Texas A&M had beaten LSU. If Kansas State had lost in September and gone on to run the table, Georgia could be in trouble.

And what if Ohio State, the only other undefeated team in the FBS besides Notre Dame, had been eligible for postseason play? Although Georgia continues to get the nod ahead of the Buckeyes in the polls, the voting sentiment likely would be different if Ohio State didn’t have NCAA sanctions. So that’s a bit of good fortune, too.

Georgia shouldn’t apologize for any of this. You make your breaks in the BCS race, and Georgia handled its business after the South Carolina debacle. If the Bulldogs take down Alabama, still the standard-bearer in college football, they’ll merit a spot in Miami.

The latest BCS standings show the SEC and Pac-12 are locks for multiple BCS entries. While the ACC had a very rough Saturday, No. 13 Florida State and No. 14 Clemson remain in position to go to big bowls. It’s a big week for the MAC and the WAC, as both leagues have multiple teams in the standings.

But there’s no BCS drama entering the final week of the season. Notre Dame has punched its ticket to Miami. Alabama or Georgia will join the Irish.

Georgia has walked a fairly charmed path to this point. But the toughest step is next.

 

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