UGA got their first championship in twenty years, but it's a hollow victory since they didn't beat the "real" SEC West champs for it. They'll always have in the back of their mind that they weren't really the best, as if the Tide wasn't on probation they likely would have won conference title #22. Arkansas fans not only had the same sense of an empty victory as the so-called SEC West champs, but they had to get their eyes beat out of them by a team that was obviously much better. The fans missed out on a great game, as well as getting to know who was really the best team this year.
As far as Bama is concerned? The biggest part of our current penalty is the fact that we have fewer shcolarships to give out, which will hurt the team for a few years. Also, we can only send out a certain number of recruiters at a time, and that number has been reduced due to the sanctions. The second biggest hit to our team is the loss of bowl revenue. Since we're not going to any bowl games, we lose out on the extra cash that revenue would bring in, as well as our share of the SEC profits. The least harmful of our penalties is that we cannot call ourselves the SEC Champs. Everyone knows that we were the best, whether they be Bama fans or otherwise. We just couldn't officially claim the title due to probation.
What the NCAA should do is let teams in situations like these compete for conference and national championships, but not go to any other bowl games. Most bowl games are just for the prestige, and the extra revenue. Who really cares if a team doesn't go to the Music City Bowl and faces a team they haven't played in a quarter century? The loss of money sucks, but it's supposed to - it is a penalty, after all. However, for the sake of the fans, if a team on probation earns the right to go to a championship game, the NCAA should let them do so. It would be beneficial to all parties involved. The team on probation would still be heavily penalized, and unless they happened to be conference champs, the penalty would not be any different. Even if the NCAA didn't allow the team the money they'd normally make for the game, it would be fine. The NCAA, or the conference, could keep Bama's share of the profit from the game which would still make it a penalty. However, you wouldn't ever have situations like with this year's championship, or like that undefeated Auburn team that people still talk about even today.
NCAA, let the best two teams face each other for the championship. You can ban all other bowl appearances, but for the sake of the fans, let the championship game be decided by the players and the coaches, not some cronies in business suits that let red tape keep the best teams in the game from playing.