As the calendar turns to Thanksgiving, the College Football Playoff became a little brighter after this weekend’s games.
Georgia will earn a place in the playoff only if they beat LSU in the SEC Championship Game. However, the Bulldogs might find themselves staring from the outside depending on the Iron Bowl outcome.
If Alabama beats Auburn big on Saturday (by 20 or more), they should move ahead of Georgia. Winning a weak SEC East should not be enough to keep the Bulldogs holding the final playoff spot.
SEC COMMON OPPONENTS MATTER THIS YEAR
Georiga owns victories over top-10 teams Florida and Notre Dame along with a win over #13 Auburn. On the surface, that looks very good. However, they won each by seven points or fewer. That is not impressive enough to counter an ugly loss at home to a 4-8 (after they lose to Clemson) South Carolina team.
The three-time defending SEC East champion could have padded their resume with an impressive win over Texas A&M (ranked #24 in ESPN/Coaches Poll & AP Poll, but unranked in College Football Playoff rankings) at home. Kirby Smart watched his team hold on for dear life in a six-point triumph, despite being outgained by the Aggies by 64 yards in the second half.
Jimbo Fisher should fire whoever analyzes game tapes. After watching Auburn light up Georgia for 238 yards and 14 points in the 4th quarter the previous week, it was apparent the Bulldogs struggle when facing a hurry-up offense. Georgia’s stout defensive line gets gassed when not being able to sub out. Seeing how effective being aggressive was for Wildcats, I was dumbfounded watching Kellen Mond take his sweet time during the Aggies potential go-ahead drive in the final quarter. Mond paid the price for the lack of aggression, as Tyler Clark sacked him to destroy their drive.
Alabama’s only win over a ranked team was on October 12 at College Station over a #24 Aggies opponent, which kills them. They don’t have that one big win like they had in 2017 when they defeated #3 Florida St. in their season-opener (Seminoles finished 7-6 that year in Jimbo Fisher’s final season). However, an impressive showing against rival Auburn Saturday should tilt the pendulum in their direction.
|Alabama-Georgia Common Opponents|
|Auburn||Play at Auburn 11/30||W, 21-14 (+7) at Auburn|
|Texas A&M||W, 47-28 (+21) at Texas A&M||W, 19-13 (+6) at home|
|Tennessee||W, 35-13 (+22) at home||W, 42-13 (+29) at Tennessee|
|South Carolina||W, 47-21 (+26) at South Carolina||L, 20-17 OT (-3) at home|
|3-0 (+69)||3-1 (+39)|
PAC-12 BLEW THEIR BEST CHANCE, BUT MIGHT STILL HAVE A SAY
Heading into Saturday night, things looked very hopeful for #6 #Oregon and #7 #Utah. If both teams won out, it would have been hard to keep the Conference Champion (they will play each other) out of the playoff.
If Georgia wins out, they will clinch the final spot (assuming Clemson, Ohio State & LSU hold serve). However, if Georgia loses to LSU, that will open the door to either Alabama, Oklahoma (assuming both wins out), and the PAC-12 champ.
Oregon had the better case if they won out; however they were eliminated Saturday with their loss at Arizona State. Oregon’s loss also impacts Utah, who now take over the reins as the most attractive candidate in the Pac-12. Assuming Oregon drops out of the top 10 (a probable assumption) that affects Utah since a one-loss Pac-12 champ will no longer be victorious over a top-10 opponent (which they would have if Oregon and Utah won out their regular seasons).
Alabama holds destiny in their own hands (assuming Georgia losses to LSU). If they pummel War Eagle Saturday, they will have the best resume of the other one-loss teams, whoever they are. Beating Auburn by ten or fewer might not be enough to convince the committee they deserve a spot over a Power-5 Conference Champ.