Alabama Coach Nick Saban finds plenty to like about competing in a league where the champion has a near-automatic reservation to the BCS national title game.
That’s the case again for Saturday’s Southeastern Conference championship game between the second-ranked Crimson Tide and No. 3 Georgia. The winner advances to meet No. 1 Notre Dame with a chance to keep the national championship in the SEC for a seventh straight year.
And the loser? Well, that team might be shut out of the BCS picture because No. 5 Florida is in line to grab that spot. Saban is less thrilled about that prospect — another side effect of playing in the SEC.
“For either one of these teams, it’s not really a great scenario,” Saban said Sunday. “You play your way into the championship game, which means you’re the best team in your division. They’re the best team in their division. They played their way into the game by a total body of work for the whole season. It doesn’t seem quite right, but it is what it is.”
Georgia Coach Mark Richt said he doesn’t want his team getting caught up in the stakes and magnitude of the game.
“All you can do is get your staff and your team as prepared as possible to go play a game,” Richt said. “That’s what we’re going to do.”
Georgia earned the trip down the road to Atlanta with a win over Florida to claim the tiebreaker. The Gators were ranked third at the time, but Richt can still draw from that win when asked how his team will handle a big game even if his memory is a touch off.
“We’ve already played the No. 2 team in the country once this year and had a good day against Florida,” he said.
The game will feature the nation’s two most efficient passers, Georgia’s Aaron Murray and Alabama’s AJ McCarron. Alabama comes in leading the nation in scoring and total defense.
BOSTON COLLEGE: Coach Frank Spaziani was fired after four years of progressively worse records and two straight seasons without a bowl appearance.
Spaziani, 65, had a record of 22-29 as head coach. This season BC was 2-10 and 1-7 in the ACC.
PURDUE: A strong finish for the Boilermakers wasn’t enough to save Danny Hope’s job.
One day after Purdue retained the Old Oaken Bucket and became bowl-eligible for the second straight season, Hope was fired. He was 22-27 in four seasons, and 6-6 this year.
AUBURN: Coach Gene Chizik’s rapid fall from a 14-0 national championship in 2010 to 3-9 this past season led to his firing Sunday, the day after a humbling 49-0 loss to No. 2 Alabama.
N.C. STATE: The Wolfpack fired Coach Tom O’Brien after six seasons, four of which were good enough to get the team into a bowl but none that could get them to the ACC title game.
O’Brien went 40-35 after coming to Raleigh from BC following the 2006 season. He took the Wolfpack to three bowl games, but won’t coach in a fourth when N.C. State receives its bid next week after a 7-5 season that concluded with a victory over BC. Offensive coordinator Dana Bible will be the interim coach for the bowl game.