LITTLE ROCK — Florida's Will Muschamp unseated Tennessee's Justin Worley in the imagined competition for inane football-related quote by a player or coach.
LITTLE ROCK — Florida’s Will Muschamp unseated Tennessee’s Justin Worley in the imagined competition for inane football-related quote by a player or coach.
In the process, the Gators’ coach managed to slight three Southeastern Conference teams.
“We have two good teams in our league — and that’s Alabama and LSU — and the rest of us you can throw us in a sack and shake us up,” Muschamp said after a loss to South Carolina.
Spoken by the coach of a team that finished 3-5 in the SEC with victories over Kentucky, Tennessee and Vanderbilt — teams with a combined 3-16 record in the league. In the Western Division, the two Mississippi schools are 1-11 in the league. Parity, that is not.
Somehow, Muschamp overlooked:
• The Razorbacks have won six in a row and their only loss was to No. 3 Alabama.
• Georgia has won eight straight.
• South Carolina has lost only to Arkansas and Auburn.
In evoking incredulity, Muschamp’s assessment outdid Worley’s “There’s a new attitude around …” The freshman quarterback’s remark followed a 24-0 victory over a bad Middle Tennessee team and preceded a 42-point loss to Arkansas.
The gap between the top and the bottom in the SEC is so wide that it could come back to haunt the league when it comes time to fulfill bowl commitments.
The SEC is supposed to provide teams to nine bowls, 10 if the league has a participant in the BCS title game as usual.
So far, only a half-dozen teams have won the six games necessary to be bowl eligible. Ole Miss is mathematically eliminated. A 4-6 Kentucky is on the verge of elimination with Georgia this week. Winless in the SEC, Tennessee must sweep Vanderbilt and Kentucky to get to six.
Mississippi State needs one more victory and won’t get it against Arkansas this week. The Bulldogs do finish against Ole Miss.
Nine bowl-eligible teams looks to be the max for the SEC. At the bottom of the bowl pecking order are games in Memphis and Birmingham.
If Arkansas has an opportunity to go to the Capital One Bowl, coach Bobby Petrino would probably deem a Florida trip to be a fitting reward for his players, particularly those who arrived with him.
The Capital One has first pick of SEC teams after the BCS selections and the bowl has invited Western Division teams five of the last eight years. The bowl is not obligated to take the loser of the SEC championship game unless that team is two games or more better than the next team.
Behind the five BCS games, the Capital One has the best payoff — about $4.5 million per. Like all bowl receipts, money is shared with other SEC teams. The catch is that unsold tickets are deducted from the payday and participating schools are asked to hawk 12,000.
There would be some irony in a Capital One invite for an Arkansas team ranked No. 5 or better in the BCS. A year ago, the Razorbacks were No. 8 in the BCS standings, second in the SEC to unbeaten Auburn, and represented the league in the BCS Sugar Bowl.
Last year, the Big Ten had tri-champions, but the 11 teams did not play a perfect round-robin. No. 5 in the BCS, Wisconsin went to the Rose Bowl, No. 6 Ohio State beat Arkansas, and No. 9 Michigan State lost bad in the Capital One.
Harry King is sports columnist for Stephens Media’s Arkansas News Bureau. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.