- Associated Press - Sunday, November 25, 2012

ATHENS, GA. (AP) - Thanks, Notre Dame.

At least we don’t have to endure another All-SEC matchup for the BCS championship.

But the conference everyone outside the South loves to hate staked out its usual place in the championship hierarchy on Super Saturday, a coast-to-coast buffet of college football’s greatest rivalries.

Either Alabama or Georgia will be playing for No. 1.

Sound familiar?

The Southeastern Conference has already won an unprecedented six straight national championships, and here’s betting the Crimson Tide or the Bulldogs will make it seven in a row on Jan. 7 in Miami.

Nothing against top-ranked Notre Dame, the best story in college football all season. The Fighting Irish (12-0) wrapped up their first perfect regular season since 1988 with a 22-13 victory over Southern California, leaving no doubt they have stifling defense and tremendous heart. Plus, they deserve bonus points for handing Trojans coach Lane Kiffin another loss, the perfect capper to his season-long plunge from No. 1 to irrelevance, with a few deflated footballs along the way.

All hail the Irish.

They deserve it.

For now.

“We’re not done yet,” Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson said. “We’ve got to keep going.”

Not so fast. It will be a month and a half before the champion is crowned, a ridiculously long wait in a sport where players are used to taking the field in tidy, one-week intervals. Offenses, which rely so heavily on timing and communication, tend to suffer more from these long delays, so points will be hard to come by in South Florida.

That levels the playing just a bit, since all three of the title contenders have top-shelf defenses.

Still, Alabama and Georgia both have more weapons offensively, which is why either team should have an edge on the Irish, no matter which one emerges as the winner in next Saturday’s SEC championship game.

The only thing that didn’t go the SEC’s way on rivalry day was Notre Dame beating USC. Without the Irish gutting out another win, we very well could’ve had a repeat of an SEC game doubling as the title game, with Florida hoping to follow the Alabama Plan, Version 2.011.

Story Continues →