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December 2, 2012

Saban: “Something’s not right here” since only 2 SEC teams will play in BCS bowl games

By David Mitchell

dmitchell@ledger-enquirer.com

ATLANTA — The often stoic post-game comments from Alabama coach Nick Saban took a turn on Saturday when the topic of the Bowl Championship Series bowls came up.

The question was simple: The way this game went, with all the momentum swings, was this a perfect example of how difficult it is to win this league and this championship game?

Saban didn’t exactly answer the question as much as take a shot at a system that could leave Georgia, a team currently ranked No. 3 that fell just 5 yards short of winning the game, out in the cold in favor of a team the Bulldogs beat on the field (Florida) earlier this season.

“When you have six teams in the top 10 — my sister did the math for me — that’s 60 percent,” Saban said. “She also said, ‘Why does only 20 percent go to the BCS?’ I’m going to tell you that I think it’s a crying shame if Georgia doesn’t get to go to a BCS bowl. They should go to a BCS bowl.”

There is a BCS rule stipulating a maximum of two teams per power conference can play in the set of games including the BCS National, Sugar, Orange, Fiesta and Rose Bowls. (SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Big East, Pac-12)

And Saban wasn’t finished. He continued, firmly stating that, based on the game the Bulldogs played on Saturday, there is no reason it should be left out.

“They played a tremendous game out there today,” he said. “That was a great football game — by both teams, and they could have won at the end just as soon as us. It came right down to the last play. So, I think it’s ridiculous, you know?

“I watch teams playing that are 7-5, and they’re saying they might go to a BCS game because they won their championship? There’s something not right here.”

Wisconsin, by virtue of going to the Big Ten Championship game by default (Ohio State and Penn State were ineligible) and trouncing Nebraska last night in Indianapolis, will play Stanford in the Rose Bowl. The Badgers are 8-5 and were not ranked in the last BCS rankings.

Big East champion Louisville also was not ranked in the last BCS top 25. The SEC has, as Saban said, six teams ranked in the top 10.

Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray echoed the Alabama coach’s words after the game. Less firmly, but convinced nonetheless, Murray stated his displeasure with the way things likely will work out.

“It’s crazy,” he said. “It’s crazy that we won’t get a BCS game when we’re representing the East in the championship game, and we’re right down to the wire to go to the national championship game. So, it kind of stinks if we don’t (get a BCS bowl invitation), but we’ll be glad whatever bowl we go to.”

The most likely destinations could be the Cotton Bowl, the Capital One Bowl, the Outback Bowl or the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

It isn’t an optimal scenario considering where the Bulldogs were almost headed, but Murray said it will be important for the team to bounce back.

“We’ve got to bounce back,” he said. “We’ve got to finish strong, get that 12th win and send our seniors off on a good note.”

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