Even before the season started, there were already excuses being made for Georgia's impending 2012 SEC East title.
The SEC schedule-makers graced Georgia with an easy cross-division schedule for the second straight season. That schedule didn't include Alabama, LSU and Arkansas—the perceived "big three" in the West for the second straight season.
But it didn't stop there. Georgia also missed Mississippi State and Texas A&M this season, which are a combined 15-5 this season.
Georgia played—and beat—cross-division foes Auburn and Ole Miss en route to its second straight SEC East title. Those two teams have a combined two SEC wins this season.
Something tells me the SEC schedule-makers will be getting plenty of holiday cards from Athens this December.
South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier commented on Georgia's scheduling luck at SEC Media Days in Hoover, Ala. in July.
"You think I make the schedule?" Spurrier said smiling. "If I made the schedule, Georgia would be playing LSU and we'd be playing Ole Miss."
Even then, Spurrier knew what he was talking about.
His Gamecocks throttled the Bulldogs 35-7 in Columbia, but their 23-21 loss to SEC West foe LSU will cost them the SEC East crown. Had the Gamecocks topped the Tigers—or any other team from the West—the Gamecocks would have been tied with Florida and Georgia and SEC tiebreaker B.8 would be in play.
That would be one giant mess, and wouldn't necessarily favor the Bulldogs.
After that loss to South Carolina, Bulldog quarterback Aaron Murray's house was egged, presumably by fans who were upset with his performance. Murray put the roller coaster of a season in perspective after Georgia clinched the SEC East on Saturday night.
But it isn't just the division title that is within reach, Georgia still has a shot at hoisting the crystal football if it can beat Alabama in the SEC Championship Game and get two of the three undefeated teams to lose.
Think about that for a second—even with a 35-7 blowout loss on its resume, Georgia has a very realistic shot at winning the BCS National Championship.
Granted, former Tennessee and current USC head coach Lane Kiffin has now become Georgia's best friend, since his Trojans play No. 3 Notre Dame and possibly No. 2 Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship Game.
Rooting for Kiffin is hard for anybody in the SEC, no matter what the reason.
As the old saying goes, "luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity," and Georgia certainly shouldn't apologize for getting itself into position for potentially playing for the title. Every championship team gets a little luck along the way.
Georgia has already got some, and is going to need more if it wants to play for the title in Miami Gardens on Jan. 7.
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