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Everything on the line in 2012 SEC title game

Published 9:02am Wednesday, November 28, 2012

For the seventh consecutive year, the SEC Championship will determine one of the competitors of the BCS Championship game.  Of those seven contests, none is more important than the one that will be played this Saturday between Alabama and Georgia. The ramifications of Saturday’s final score will be huge for both the winner and the loser.
Think about the implications of winning the SEC this year. Obviously, the winner gets their ticket punched to Miami and play for all of the marbles. The beautiful, valuable, diamond-encrusted marbles. However, the benefits of the win don’t stop there by a long shot.
Because Notre Dame finished the season ranked number one in the BCS standings, the SEC champ will be taking on the Irish. That match up alone is worth immeasurable marketing value.
The game will feature the mighty SEC against THE program in college football. You can dispute my capitalizing the word ‘the’ to emphasize ND’s relevance all you want, but only from a recent perspective. Historically (and more importantly, in terms of selling ad space), the Golden Domers are still the cream of the football crop.
Therefore, either UA or UGA will be rewarded with around the clock coverage from all media outlets like no BCS game has ever seen. If you think the game has been overhyped in the past, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
The mere presence of Notre Dame is enough to register on the marketing Richter Scale, but the fact that the Irish have been shut out of a title game since 1988 means a lot of hungry sets of Catholic eyes glued to their TVs. And because Notre Dame and the SEC are both so incredibly polarizing, even non-football aficionados will tune in just to root against one or the other.
So the winner in the Georgia Dome gets a title shot against Notre Dame, a monstrous paycheck and immeasurable exposure. What exactly does the lowly loser limp away with? I am glad you asked.
First, look at the above paragraphs and attempt to compute the money missed on from not being in the BCS game. Those dollars by themselves should give the coaching staffs enough motivation to rally their troops this weekend. But the costs of coming in ‘SECond’ place don’t stop there.
Even though the loser (who would be the winner of their respective division mind you)will finish with a better than respectable 11-2 record, there will be no other BCS bowl for that team to go to. Because Florida finished their season by raking FSU over the coals and ended up at 11-1, the Gators will undoubtedly get the SEC at large birth over the SEC title game loser.
The third in line of SEC bowl possibilities is the Capital One Bowl. Should Georgia lose, this Orlando based event may be the Dawgs landing spot. However, because Michigan is the likely opponent in that game, if Alabama were to lose Saturday my bet is that the Cap One passes on the Tide. After all, Michigan and ‘Bama already played once this season and the contest was non-competitive.
So where would Alabama end up? Maybe the Cotton Bowl, but most predict a Texas A&M/ Texas match in Dallas instead. It is conceivable that Alabama could go from a possible BCS game all the way to the Outback or Chic-Fil-A Bowls! That, my friends, means the Tide has a lot more to play for Saturday than we all first realized.
Oh, and I haven’t forgotten the implications of this game upon the legacies of both coaches. Nick Saban would have a chance to cement his status as the game’s greatest. Meanwhile, Mark Richt could swat many a critical monkey off of his back by beating Big, Bad ‘Bama and taking UGA to a title game.
So the SEC winner will feast like a king for more than a month while waiting on a chance at the sport’s grandest prize. Meanwhile, the loser will quickly be forgotten as just another victim of the eventual champ. Saturday can’t get here fast enough.
Robinson is a columnist for Sportz Blitz.