Thanks to another bow to political correctness, three years ago the schools and the SEC demanded that this game be called by the astonishingly clever sobriquet of The Florida-Georgia Game (or was it Georgia-Florida, is it depending on which side downs more cocktails? I forget). Sure, alcoholism is a problem that needs to be addressed, but does banishing the nickname of a time-honored event really change the way people go about things?
If we refer to these tyrants of academia as cognitively challenged, does that change the fact that they're idiots?
But I digress.
This year's Coke Zero Party is by far the most significant game in the series since the inception of the BCS in 1998. With Georgia sixth and Florida eighth in the BCS standings, both teams still have a good chance of advancing to the BCS title game. At the minimum, a place in the SEC title game is on the line. For the winner, a BCS bowl berth is all but assured. For the loser, well, it's Orlando, here we come!
In all likelihood, the winner of the game will ascend to No. 4 in the BCS standings, behind Alabama, Penn State and the winner of the Texas-Texas Tech game. Basically, winning the game in Jacksonville puts a team in the position of a vice president - one heartbreak upset away from a spot in the BCS title game.
Florida has dominated this series in the BCS Era, winning eight of 10, though Georgia did prevail last year in a game most memorable for the Bulldogs' over-the-top celebration following their opening touchdown. The bad blood is boiling beneath the surface, as Gators coach Urban Meyer has issued a gag order on his players. This should be one heck of a cocktail party ... er, I mean, intercollegiate athletic engagement by the student-athletes.
The Florida-Georgia, 3:30 p.m. ET showdown headlines this week's BCS Biggies ... and here are the others:
No. 1 Texas at No. 7 Texas Tech, 8 p.m. ET - Somebody is gonna score half a hundy in this game, probably Texas. Last year's game ended with a 59-43 Texas victory, with Colt McCoy and Graham Harrell combining for 785 passing yards and seven touchdowns. Those numbers might be shattered this year as both quarterbacks return with offenses armed to the teeth. Without a question, this is the BGISH (Biggest Game in School History) for Texas Tech - though its schedule is only getting warmed up. For Texas, a win in Lubbock just might seal the No. 1 ranking and a trip to the BCS championship game.
No. 10 Utah at New Mexico, 9:30 p.m. ET - Somebody from the Mountain West probably will end up with a BCS bowl berth, but they'd better keep winning. Utah has a showdown against TCU next week, making the trip to Albuquerque the proverbial trap game.
No. 13 Texas Christian at UNLV, 8 p.m. ET - See above, ditto.
No. 24 Oregon at California, 3:30 p.m. ET - Cal is one of two Pac-10 teams actually in control of their own Rose Bowl destiny (USC is NOT the other, Oregon State is). The winner of the game likely will cement second place in the Pac-10 and keep alive some teeny hopes of making it to a BCS bowl game. For the Golden Bears, this is the make-or-break part of the season. A victory here, followed by another upset at USC next week, just might propel them to the school's first Rose Bowl berth since the 1959 game.
No. 18 Tulsa at Arkansas, 2 p.m. ET - The Razorbacks are the 2008 version of the pinata in some sense - the biggest bullies on the block have taken their turns beating up on Bobby Petrino's Hogs. Arkansas has already played - and gotten creamed - by No. 2 Alabama, No. 1 Texas and No. 8 Florida in succession. Now Tulsa, a newly-minted non-BCS power, will visit Fayetteville and see how it measures up. A win - maybe a big win - is needed to put the Golden Hurricane into the top 14 and BCS bowl-eligible territory. They've averaged merely 55.6 points per game in their 8-0 start.
P.S. Doesn't it say something about the state of the program at Nebraska when its game at No. 4 Oklahoma didn't come close to making this list whereas three non-BCS teams did?