Quick quiz: Who played in the Sugar Bowl after the 2010 season?
Answer: Ohio State and Arkansas. The Buckeyes won 31-26, and if you knew without looking it up, you’ve got a better memory than me and I would wager most folks.
Now another: Who won the SEC East 2010? You all know that one, right? South Carolina won its only SEC title of any kind and only its second in history that season.
The reason for this historical review is the ongoing debate about which would be better for South Carolina – a trip to the SEC title game with the accompanying chance of getting blown out by someone like Alabama and falling to a bowl outside the BCS or a strong finish that doesn’t land the Gamecocks in Atlanta but could put them in their first BCS bowl game in history, say the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans for instance.
I get the question three or four times a week, and it’s a popular topic on local radio so let’s get this out of the way once and for all – Win The Title. The idea that a title-less season that ends in New Orleans is better than a division crown and a trip to Tampa, Fla., for a bowl game is ridiculous. There may come a day in South Carolina football history where a division title is not a big deal, where the facades of Williams-Brice Stadium are dotted with recognition of past titles won. This isn’t that day folks. Atlanta is the goal, period.
The argument I hear most for playing in the BCS game instead of the conference title game is the exposure it might provide for recruiting, but if you’re trying to figure out what exact set of circumstances applies to what exact recruit, you’ve already lost that battle. These players make their decisions based on so many more factors than the average fan or media member ever know. One kid might be attracted by a BCS bowl appearance, one might be swayed by an SEC East title and another might want to go somewhere that doesn’t manage either accomplishment but can sell the idea of quick playing time.
There’s no sense worrying about what will catch the eye of each particular recruit, just like there’s no sense in rooting for anything other than a championship.
Around the SEC:
Twelve of the 14 head coaches in the SEC have a Twitter account. You probably now that South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier is not one of them, and you probably guessed that Alabama’s Nick Saban is the other one who abstains.
"I've never considered joining Twitter, nor do I know why anybody would," Saban said. "There's a lot of people that do and I guess that I'm one of the ones in the minority."
Georgia and Florida are playing an SEC East elimination game in Jacksonville, Fla., on Saturday. This writer calls is the World’s Largest Outdoor Pity Party. Both teams started the season ranked in the top 10 but will meet with neither ranked.
Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin is wondering why wide receiver Mike Evans is not getting Heisman Trophy consideration. Evans is having a fantastic season, but in his heart of hearts, Sumlin knows the answer to that question – it’s a quarterback award this season.
“He’s as good as a player as there is in the country,” Sumlin said. “And people say, ‘Well, can you have two guys do that?’ It wouldn’t be the first time.”
Blah, blah, blah – quarterbacks.
Meanwhile, as Tennessee and Missouri get ready to face off, the Tigers might get their quarterback back early, while the Vols just lost theirs for a while and are going with a true freshman starter.