ATLANTA — While it appears a return trip to Orlando, Florida, for the Citrus Bowl is imminent for the LSU Tigers, the result of Saturday’s Southeastern Conference Championship Game still bears watching for its impact on LSU’s postseason plans.
Right now, the SEC figures to put three teams — championship game participants Auburn and Georgia plus Alabama — in the CFP semifinals and/or one of the CFP’s other four bowls. Auburn is No. 2 in the CFP, Alabama is No. 5 and Georgia No. 6.
Idle Alabama (11-1) could slip back into the playoff if one of the teams ahead of it loses, but otherwise the Crimson Tide is in one of the so-called New Year’s Six bowls. The same is likely true for the Auburn-Georgia loser, though the 10-2 Tigers or 11-1 Bulldogs could slip far enough in the final CFP poll not to earn a bid. That team would likely stay ahead of LSU (No. 17 in the CFP) in the final rankings released Sunday.
If Auburn, Alabama and Georgia make the CFP semis/bowls, it appears likely LSU will be invited back to the Citrus, this time to play a Big Ten team or Notre Dame. The Tigers romped past Louisville 29-9 last year in Orlando. LSU’s nearest competitors for a spot in the Citrus are 8-4 Mississippi State, which beat LSU 37-7 but fell to No. 23 in the CFP after losing to Ole Miss on Thanksgiving night, and 8-4 South Carolina, which fell out of the CFP rankings after a 34-10 loss to Clemson.
The Citrus, which alone among SEC bowl tie-ins is allowed to select its teams, will likely announce its pairing Sunday afternoon.
Media Days moving
The SEC will bring its annual kickoff football media event to Atlanta in 2018, leaving the Birmingham, Alabama, area for the first time since 1985.
SEC Football Media Days will be July 16-19 at the College Football Hall of Fame in downtown Atlanta and at the adjacent Omni Atlanta Hotel.
“We look forward to the 2018 experience and hope to feature both the College Football Hall of Fame, which will be hosting, and perhaps have an opportunity for the Mercedes-Benz Stadium to host an event,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said Friday.
Sankey stressed that the move isn’t permanent, saying media days will return to Hoover, Alabama, in 2019. After that there are no plans, though Sankey said he would be interested in taking the event to other parts of the conference.
“I think there’s some wisdom in moving around throughout our 11-state footprint over time,” Sankey said.
Sankey mentioned that Dallas and Nashville, Tennessee, also got consideration for 2018. No mention was made of New Orleans as a candidate.
Dorsey is LSU’s SEC legend
Former LSU All-American defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey is being honored this weekend as LSU’s SEC football legend.
Players from all 14 SEC schools were commemorated at a dinner Friday night at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta and will be recognized on the field before Saturday’s kickoff.
The most decorated player in school history, Dorsey won the Lombardi, Outland, Nagurski and Lott trophies as a senior in 2007, leading LSU to the SEC title and BCS national championship. Dorsey was the fifth overall pick of the 2008 NFL draft by Kansas City and played eight seasons with the Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers.
Other honorees this year include former Alabama coach Gene Stallings, former Florida and New Orleans Saints quarterback Danny Wuerffel, Georgia’s Champ Bailey and Kentucky’s Nate Northington, who in 1967 became the first African-American play in an SEC game.
Keeping their word
When they met at midfield Nov. 11 after Auburn routed Georgia 40-17, Auburn coach Gus Malzahn told Georgia coach Kirby Smart, “I hope to see you in Atlanta.”
Turns out they will, in the seventh SEC Championship Game rematch from a regular-season meeting.
“We were talking about it today when I saw him and I said, ‘You held up your end of the bargain,’ ” Smart said.
In the previous six SEC Championship Game rematches, the team that won the regular-season game won the title game five times. The only exception was 2001, when LSU lost 26-18 at Tennessee then upset the No. 2-ranked Volunteers 31-20 for the SEC title.