BCS Bowls want tickets sold

ATHENS – It takes more than one thousand words to outline all that goes into selecting and placing the 10 teams that will play in BCS bowl games this January.

The last 40 of those state that the matchups can be changed at the last minute based on "whether alternative pairings may have greater or lesser appeal to college football fans as measured by expected ticket sales for the bowls and by expected television interest, and the consequent financial impact on rights-holding television networks and the bowls."

All that wordiness boils down to this: it's anyone's guess at this point where No. 4 Georgia (10-2) will spend its bowl season. The Rose, Fiesta and Orange bowls remain a possibility for the Bulldogs.

"I don't really understand the whole scenario," Georgia head coach Mark Richt admitted. "I'm not even sure we're guaranteed a BCS bowl game yet."

The Bulldogs are because they are ranked No. 4 in the latest BCS rankings, but that could change after this week's games. Even if Georgia is not guaranteed a spot, it is virtually certain it will be playing either in Miami, Fla., Glendale, Ariz., or Pasadena, Calif.

The Bulldogs have not played in the Orange Bowl since 1960, the Rose Bowl since 1943 and have never played in the Fiesta Bowl.

The Rose Bowl holds particular interest for Richt and many Georgia fans because it's the oldest bowl game in the nation, having gone so far as to trademark its nickname "The Granddaddy of Them All."

The Rose Bowl would get the first at-large selection if Oklahoma beats BCS No. 1 Missouri as expected in the Big 12 championship game Saturday, thus taking Ohio State away from the Rose Bowl to play in the BCS national title game.

In that case, the Bulldogs "are on the consideration list," said Rose Bowl CEO Mitch Dorger. "We are very aware of Georgia, their fans, where they are ranked, their television appeal, all those things."

The sticking point is the Rose Bowl's traditional role as a matchup between the Pac-10 and the Big Ten. If Ohio State plays for the national title, the bowl will feel pressure to take the next available Big Ten team, in this case Illinois, if the Illini meet BCS qualifying standards.

"That is a significant issue," Dorger said. "It will be a very important factor, but it won't be the only factor."

Georgia athletics director Damon Evans already has lobbied Dorger for a spot in the Rose Bowl.

"We are well aware of Georgia's interest," Dorger said. "I have talked to a lot of folks down at the university."

The Rose Bowl would ask the Bulldogs for a guarantee their fans would buy 20,000 tickets, Dorger said.

"We have no doubt that if Georgia came they would be able to sell those," he said. "We were an eyelash away from having LSU last year, and they had pre-sold 42,000 tickets."

If Missouri beats Oklahoma, the Fiesta Bowl will get the first at-large selection. Fiesta Bowl CEO John Junker did not return a message left in his office.

If the Rose and Fiesta bowls pass on Georgia, the Bulldogs may be looking at a rematch of last year's Chick-fil-A Bowl. The winner of the Virginia Tech-Boston College matchup in the ACC championship game will get one spot in the Orange Bowl. Georgia beat Virginia Tech last year in Atlanta, but a rematch is "not a concern whatsoever on our front," Orange Bowl CEO Eric Poms said.

Orange Bowl officials have been in contact with Virginia Tech and Georgia and their conferences, and Poms said it doesn't appear to be an issue with them either.

The Orange Bowl asks for the standard BCS ticket guarantee of 17,500.

If Missouri and BCS No. 2 West Virginia both lose (the Mountaineers played lightly regarded Pittsburgh), all the bowls will go back to square one.

Sixteen teams remain in consideration for a spot in one of the five BCS games, including Big Ten champion Ohio State and Big East champion West Virginia, who are guaranteed bids. Nine of the remaining teams are those still contention for their conference championship (Boston College and Virginia Tech in the ACC, Missouri and Oklahoma in the Big 12, LSU and Tennessee in the SEC and USC, UCLA and Arizona State in the Pac-10). And then there are the at-large candidates – Georgia, BYU, Clemson, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois and Kansas.

NOTES: Georgia play-by-play announcer Larry Munson plans to work Georgia's bowl game regardless of where it is, WSB's Neil Williamson said. "I talked to him (Monday), I said, ‘Even Pasadena?' He said yes," Williamson said. … Running back Knowshon Moreno and offensive linemen Trinton Sturdivant and Clint Boling were named Tuesday to the Scout.com national All-Freshman team. Linebacker Rennie Curran was a second-team selection, and offensive lineman Chris Davis was named honorable mention. … Donors to the Athletic Association's William C. Hartman Jr. Fund have until Friday to make or update their postseason ticket order. Call (877) 542-1231 for more details.


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