The weekly preview is up at Football Outsiders, examining the SEC Championship Game as de facto semifinal. Plus: Analysis, advanced stats and picks of the weekend's biggest games.
Some SEC fans are fond of referring to the conference's annual championship game in Atlanta as the real national championship game, which is all the more infuriating this year for having a ring of possible truth. Immediately after Oregon and Kansas State's simultaneous stumbles on November 17, Alabama was back in the driver's seat at No. 2 in the subsequent polls, followed by the SEC East champ, Georgia, at No. 3, turning Saturday's collision in the Georgia Dome into a de facto semifinal for the right to be favored to beat Notre Dame in the big one on January 7. Could college football's game of the year possibly be anywhere else?
If Ohio State had possessed enough foresight to keep a 6-6 team home from a meaningless Gator Bowl last December, rather than leave it to the NCAA to levy a ban against the 2012 team, the undefeated Buckeyes might be in a position to challenge the assumption. Instead, they're watching a 7-5 Wisconsin outfit that they just beat take their place in the Big Ten Championship Game against a Nebraska outfit that they also beat. At the very least, OSU could have offered a viable alternative to the status quo. As it stands, it's just a matter of which colors the status quo will be wearing in Miami.