BCS Still Possible for Gators

Okay, so Florida will not be defending its national, SEC or even SEC East titles this season. While that is disappointing for most in Gator Nation it's not all that surprising considering what Florida lost off that tremendous team last year. But just because the Gators won't hold on to any of those trophies, they can still end this season in a very special way.

Florida enters the stretch run of the season very much in the picture for one of the ten spots in the BCS Bowl Games. Florida has a legitimate shot at both the Sugar and Orange Bowls.

Before getting into what needs to happen for Florida to be in an elite post-season game, a review of the BCS selection rules is in order. Six of the ten spots are guaranteed to the champions of the SEC, ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac 10. A seventh bid would be extended to the champ of a lesser conference IF that team is in the top 12 in the final BCS standings. That team would also get a spot if it was in the top 16 AND ranked higher than one of the top six conference's champ. This year that rule applies directly to the winner of the upcoming Hawaii/Boise State game.

A runner up in one of the top six conferences would be guaranteed an at large spot if it was ranked No. 3 or No. 4. If there are still spots remaining, a team has to have nine wins and a BCS top 14 ranking. Under no circumstances can any conference have three teams receive BCS invitations. That makes it extra interesting this year because three conferences have three teams in the current top 12 of the BCS. Three of those teams will not be getting one of the ten spots, so someone from the outside will get in.

What the Gators Need to Have Happen

If Florida falls to the Seminoles nothing else matters. The Gators must have nine wins to be considered and must have a strong performance to impress as many voters as possible.

GEORGIA and/or LSU LOSES ----- While this is not absolutely mandatory, it certainly would help for the Gators (No. 12 BCS) to have the same number wins and be ranked closer to the Bulldawgs (No. 7 BCS). Any LSU loss might be enough to drop the Tigers out of the top four. IF Georgia wins out and LSU beats Arkansas there's a good chance LSU and Georgia could both be in the top four, so the Gators would be better off if one lost before the SEC Title Game.

TENNESSEE BEATS KENTUCKY ----- It'll be much harder for Georgia to get into the top four if Tennessee keeps the Dawgs out of the SEC Title Game.

WEST VIRGINIA WINS THE BIG EAST ----- Remember what it takes for Hawaii or Boise State to get an invite. Florida needs the highest ranked team in the Big East to get the spot. West Virginia (No. 3 BCS) is that team.

VIRGINIA TECH WINS THE ACC ----- The Hokies are currently ranked No. 8 in the BCS. Boston College is No. 14 so this isn't all that necessary.

Here's One Scenario

BCS Championship Game --- LSU vs. Big 12 Champ

Orange Bowl --- Florida vs. Virginia Tech

Fiesta Bowl --- Big 12 No. 2 vs. Boise/Hawaii winner

Sugar Bowl --- WVU vs. USC/ASU loser

Rose Bowl --- Ohio State vs. USC/ASU winner

Why Florida over Georgia? ----- It seems unfair that Florida would get a bid to the Sugar Bowl over Georgia if the two teams finish 9-3 since the Bulldogs beat the Gators. It seems even more so if Georgia is 10-2. You know what? It is. But that's show biz.

Florida will get the BCS at-large over Georgia because of Tim Tebow. The Heisman winner trumps the nation's best freshman running back by a wide margin. Add to that the number of Gators in the decision making structure in Miami and it's a slam dunk.

Keep in mind the selection order. If the BCS game is as I called it, first the Sugar Bowl picks a team to replace LSU and they go with West Virginia as the No. 3 BCS team with hoards of traveling fans. Then the Fiesta Bowl gets to replace the Big 12 winner and they'll take another Big 12 team. Next the Orange Bowl chooses an opponent for Virginia Tech and they have to take either an SEC team or the Pac 10 runner up or the Boise State/Hawaii winner. That, my friends is an easy decision.

However, if the Gators lost to the ‘Noles, Georgia goes to the BCS and the Gators face the Zooker in Orlando.

Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Larry Vettel

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