"Whoever wins in Atlanta belongs in Pasadena"

Auburn Athletic Director Jay Jacobs talks about the SEC Championship Game and the BCS.

Auburn, Ala.--Even though Florida State and Ohio State are 1-2 in the current BCS Standings, Auburn Athletic Director Jay Jacobs said as far as he's concerned the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta should be the de-factor semi-final for one of the spots.

Pitting No. 3 Auburn (11-1) against No. 5 Missouri (11-1), the game is another huge one for both teams. Already with one of the strongest schedules in the country, Auburn is coming off a big win over then number one Alabama. Also with a strong resume, Missouri has put itself in a prime position as well.

"I think that you look at the strength of schedule," Jacobs said. "We're going to go to this thing next year, the BCS playoff, and we basically just had a game one versus four and we beat number one. You look at strength of schedule and we knocked off the reigning champion and nobody else has been able to do that. We have beaten four Top 25 teams. Whoever wins the game Saturday belongs in Pasadena.

"Look at strength of schedule, the things we're going to be looking at next year to put teams into that four team playoff, and if it makes sense next year why would you just say ignore it this year? Not that the SEC deserves the right to be there because we've won seven in a row, I think that demonstrates the strength of this league. This is the best college football league in the nation. Whether it's us or Missouri, whoever wins in Atlanta, belongs in Pasadena."

In the final year of the Bowl Championship Series with a four-team playoff on the horizon, Auburn is in danger of getting left out again. While the circumstances are much different than 2004 when the Tigers were one of three undefeated teams and were left out, Jacobs said it's kind of ironic that Auburn is in the mix this year.

"2004 was a phenomenal year and in my mind we were national champions," Jacobs said. "I that it just gave the nation something to look at and say ‘you know what we need to change this thing'. It is ironic that here we are again on the year of the eve of a four-team playoff and we sit in this position. But none of this matters to Auburn unless we go out there and beat a really, really good Missouri team on Saturday.

"I think because maybe geographically, because they are new to the league, or whatever it may be, maybe some people don't understand and obviously the voters do because they are number five in the nation, how good this team is. We'll have to play as good as we've played all year in order to beat these guys. Regardless of who wins the game Saturday, because of those reasons, you've got to consider the SEC Champion being in Pasadena."

No matter what happens the rest of the way the 2013 season will always be one to remember for Auburn. Picked to finish fifth in the SEC West before the season, the Tigers have pulled off the biggest turnaround in the history of the program and one of the biggest in college football history. Along with way they have had two of the more iconic plays in college football history as well with Ricardo Louis' catch against Georgia and Chris Davis' return against Alabama talked about all over the country. Jacobs said because of those plays and what the team has done this year the Auburn brand is as recognizable as it has ever been.

"You couldn't afford the positive publicity this institution is getting because of this," Jacobs said. "You couldn't buy the marketing, couldn't buy the front page, what's going on in the news media, these early-morning programs. We've got people looking at what's going on here that have never thought about college football, but it's great for the institution. There may be some young lady in California or Wisconsin or whatever it may be, thinking: "I'd like to go to vet school somewhere. There's Auburn. Maybe I'll look at Auburn's vet school." Or become a business major. There's Auburn. We couldn't afford the advertising and the positive public relations we're getting because of this."

With plenty still left to play for and the possibility of a national championship definitely in play, Auburn has to take care of business on Saturday and then let the chips fall. No matter if it's Florida State, Ohio State or even Alabama, Jacobs said it wouldn't matter as long as the Tigers were in the mix.

"If we're one of them I'm all for it," Jacobs said. "Happy to go. We'll go to Alaska, Pasadena, Europe, Russia, wherever it may be. I'm all for it. I'm happy to go."

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