Paschall: The old BCS would have worked out fine this season

Georgia photo by Tony Walsh / Georgia football coach Kirby Smart celebrates with his players following Saturday’s 50-30 downing of LSU in the Southeastern Conference championship game.

This wound up being the perfect college football season to turn back the clock and implement the Bowl Championship Series.

Picture No. 1 Georgia versus No. 2 Michigan — the last two undefeated teams standing — for all the marbles.

Of course, the College Football Playoff's current four-team format in two years will become an NFL knockoff with 12 teams and too many participation trophies to count. Heck, the third and fourth seeds in this year's field, TCU and Ohio State, made the cut despite going a combined 1-2 the past two weekends.

At least the backing-in Buckeyes have been given the task of defeating Georgia in Atlanta, which would represent a significant moment of atonement for the 45-23 home loss to Michigan in their most recent performance.

"I know it's in Georgia's backyard, but what an unbelievable opportunity for us to go down and play in that electric atmosphere," Ohio State coach Ryan Day said Sunday afternoon after the Peach Bowl matchup between his 11-1 Buckeyes and the 13-0 Bulldogs on New Year's Eve night had been set. "When you get to this point of the season, this is what you're going to do. You're going to be in these type of environments.

"If you said at the beginning of the year that we would be playing in Atlanta against Georgia, the defending national champs, you would cut off your right arm for this opportunity."

Georgia has scored nearly 100 combined points during its first two trips to Mercedes-Benz Stadium this season, routing Oregon 49-3 in the season opener and overwhelming LSU 50-30 during Saturday's Southeastern Conference championship game.

"I certainly think it's great to be in Atlanta and how it fell that way, because of the rotation and it being Atlanta's year," Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart said. "We've gone and played in the Rose Bowl out in California and we've also been to Miami to play in the semifinals, and I know Ohio State has been all over as well.

"It's different when you're there for the whole week. We'll both practice at Mercedes-Benz, so it's not like you're going to walk in there and have not seen the place, and the field is the exact same length as any other field we would play them on."

Smart, who appeared in a pair of Peach Bowls against Virginia as a Bulldogs safety during the 1990s, should have all the motivational ingredients necessary with Ohio State's stout tradition and with the defensive performance against LSU, as the Tigers racked up 549 yards.

"We didn't play real good defense," Smart said. "We gave up some plays that we probably shouldn't have, and you give LSU credit for that. We've got to continue to grow."


Sunday's bowl announcements will be followed by Monday's opening of the NCAA transfer portal, so this could hardly be a down week in terms of college football news.

"We went a year where we didn't take one, but you're always going to look," Smart said. "You can't put a ton of focus and attention into looking to kids in the portal. For us, it's about who we trust and who we think fits our culture and find the right people, but our focus will be on ourselves."

Both Smart and Day expressed their desire to recruit and develop high school players, with Georgia scoring again Sunday with a commitment from five-star edge rusher Samuel M'Pemba of IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.


Alabama's dominance throughout the years is not only reflected in national championships but trips to the Sugar Bowl, where the Crimson Tide will compete for a 17th time on New Year's Eve against Kansas State.

Kentucky has only one Sugar Bowl trip in its history, while Mississippi State, South Carolina and Vanderbilt have yet to travel to New Orleans for the postseason.


The New Year's Eve pairing of Kentucky and Iowa in the Music City Bowl is awkward on a couple fronts.

Kentucky defeated Iowa 20-17 at the Citrus Bowl this past New Year's Day, so the Wildcats and Hawkeyes will be competing twice in the same calendar year. Yet the even bigger issue for Wildcats fans is that the noon kickoff on ABC that day is identical to the Kentucky-Louisville men's basketball tipoff on CBS, with that showdown taking place in Lexington.

"I would like to say every year in our 25-year history here has been a perfect scenario, but that's not the case," Music City Bowl president and CEO Scott Ramsey told the Lexington Herald-Leader. "I think every year you try to look at the teams that kind of are in the available opportunities for you. (Kentucky athletic director) Mitch (Barnhart) and I talked quite a bit about that the last couple weeks.

"We just felt like this year it just felt like the right fit, and we didn't want that to derail what we felt like was the right team in the right year for us, which was Kentucky. Not ideal? I think we would both say that, but we didn't feel like it was anything to go in a different direction."


Florida on Sunday became the first SEC team invited to the Las Vegas Bowl, where the Gators will face Oregon State on Dec. 17.

The Gators this season have been swept by Florida State, Georgia and Tennessee for the first time ever, and they've been swept by Kentucky and Vanderbilt for the first time since 1974.

Yet they've also defeated Utah, which is off to the Rose Bowl as the Pac-12 champion.

Contact David Paschall at