Clearing Up the Bowl Picture

ATHENS – Georgia's path to New Orleans and the Sugar Bowl is simple.

Beat LSU in Saturday's SEC title game and the Bulldogs will play in the Superdome in the 78th Annual Sugar Bowl Jan. 3.

A loss to the Tigers complicates the bowl picture somewhat – but it won't be hard for Georgia to find a place for postseason play.

"A lot of bowls want Georgia in their bowl game," Outback Bowl President Jim McVay said. "Georgia is one of the really, really hot teams in the country right now."

The Capital One Bowl holds the first pick of teams not in a BCS bowl. Essentially, Arkansas, Georgia and South Carolina are the teams from the SEC that could play in Orlando.

From there, the Outback Bowl has the first pick of an SEC East team, and the Cotton Bowl has the first pick of an SEC West team.

"If Georgia wins this weekend, they'll play in the Sugar Bowl," John Sudsbury, director of media relations for the Sugar Bowl, said. "If not, we're not going to speculate where they'd play."

Georgia last played in the Capital One Bowl in 2009 – a 24-12 win over Michigan State. The Bulldog Nation travelled well. A good showing this weekend could lead to a return trip.

But there is always the possibility Arkansas or South Carolina could be chosen instead. That scenario would be fine with McVay, who says the Outback Bowl is in a can't-lose situation with the trio of teams available.

"Georgia just has one of those really spectacular stories this year," McVay said. "This is a really special football team. Everything about the Georgia football program is first class and top notch."

Tampa, the location of the Outback Bowl, creates a good storyline, McVay said. Georgia quarterback and tight end Orson Charles hail from the area. The Bulldogs are 3-0 in the game, most recently defeating Wisconsin in 2004.

This year's opponent for the SEC representative in the Outback Bowl could be one of many Big 10 schools. Michigan State, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Penn State could all end up in the game.

And if Georgia falls to McVay and his selection committee, it would readily be taken.

"Mark Richt has done a spectacular job since the 0-2 start," McVay said. "It's a great, great story in college football. We've dealt with (athletic director) Greg McGarity before, too. Everything about the Georgia program is excellent."

The scenarios that could play out are as follows:

-- Georgia beats LSU and plays in the Sugar Bowl.

-- Georgia loses to LSU and is chosen by the Capital One Bowl.

-- South Carolina is chosen by the Capital One Bowl, sending Arkansas to the Cotton Bowl and Georgia to the Outback Bowl.

-- Arkansas is chosen by the Capital One Bowl. The Outback Bowl would have its pick of South Carolina and Georgia. The school not chosen would play in the Cotton Bowl.

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