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SEC Goes With BCS As Tiebreaker

November 7, 2003

ATLANTA (AP) _ Avoiding the potential for an embarrassing vote, the Southeastern Conference hastily adopted a new tiebreaking formula that could use the BCS standings to determine who plays in the league championship game.

SEC athletic directors held a conference call Friday, unanimously adopting the new rule so they wouldn’t be put in the position of voting on which team SEC East team plays in the Dec. 6 championship in Atlanta.

In the event of a three-way tie between Florida, Georgia and Tennessee, the highest team in the Bowl Championship Series standings would represent the East, with one caveat. If the top two teams are within five places of each other in the BCS, the head-to-head winner would go to the title game.

The new tiebreaker favors Georgia, though things can change in the final weeks of the regular season.

The Bulldogs (7-2) are No. 10 in the BCS, while Tennessee is 13th and Florida 17th. Using the new tiebreaker, Florida would be eliminated and Georgia declared the division champion because of its 41-14 victory over Tennessee.

If Florida beats Florida State on Nov. 29, the Gators could narrow the gap with the Bulldogs enough to win the tiebreaker based on their win last week over Georgia.

The SEC had come under criticism for having a seven-step tiebreaking procedure that called for a vote of athletic directors as a last resort.

If Georgia, Tennessee and Florida win their remaining conference games, they would wind up in a three-way tie for the East championship. The first six tiebreaker steps would not break the deadlock.

The new seventh tiebreaker _ using the BCS standings _ replaces the AD vote.

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