The new college football playoff rankings are out and Georgia has climbed five spots to No. 15. This didn’t figure to be a topic of conversation after the disaster in Jacksonville two weeks ago, but the potential of an uncomfortable situation has presented itself to the selection committee.
— Georgia presumably took itself out of the playoff derby by losing to Florida. It’s not just that the Bulldogs have two losses, because there’s a chance at least one playoff team will have two losses. It’s that the losses came to two mediocre teams – South Carolina (2-5, 4-5) and Florida (4-3, 5-3). That should weigh heavily if this committee truly is going to judge teams on their entire resume, just as the NCAA Tournament committee judges basketball teams.
— But what if Georgia runs the table, which certainly is possible, especially with Todd Gurley back in the lineup. What if the Dogs close out the regular season with wins over Auburn, Charleston Southern and Georgia Tech, Missouri loses at least once to give Georgia SEC East, and then the Dogs defeat the winner of the SEC West, likely either Mississippi State or Alabama, for the conference championship. Hmmm. (A similar nightmare scenario for the committee: Missouri, which already has lost to Indiana and Georgia, runs the table.)
— The committee would have three choices: 1) Conclude that Georgia’s late-season wins over Auburn and in the SEC championship, make them worthy of a playoff berth; 2) Leapfrog another SEC team over Georgia for a playoff berth (the SEC title game loser would be the most likely candidate); 3) Shut out the SEC completely of the inaugural playoff tournament.
It’s difficult for me to guess which of those three is most plausible.
The only thing that would make it easier on the committee to put Georgia in would be if so many other dominoes fall ahead of them in the rankings. Every team has at least two or three games left and some are rivalry games, so there’s still room for chaos.
Actually, chaos probably is the favorite.
Here’s the remaining schedules for the top 15 teams in the playoff rankings. It doesn’t include potential conference championship games for SEC, ACC, Big Ten and Pacific 12 teams. The Big 12 does not have a title game:
- Mississippi State (9-0): at No. 5 Alabama, Vanderbilt, at No. 10 Mississippi.
- Oregon (9-1): Colorado, at Oregon State.
- Florida State (9-0): at Miami, Boston College, Florida.
- TCU (8-1): at Kansas, at Texas, Iowa State.
- Alabama (8-1): No. 1 Mississippi State, Western Carolina, No. 9 Auburn.
- Arizona State (8-1): at Oregon State, Washington State, at No. 14 Arizona.
- Baylor (8-1): Oklahoma State, at Texas Tech, Kansas State.
- Ohio State (8-1): at No. 25 Minnesota, Indiana, Michigan
- Auburn (7-2): at No. 15 Georgia, Samford, at No. 5 Alabama.
- Mississippi (8-2): at Arkansas, No. 1 Mississippi State.
- UCLA (8-2): USC, Stanford.
- Michigan State (7-2): at Maryland, Rutgers, at Penn State.
- Kansas State (7-2): at West Virginia, Kansas, at No. 7 Baylor.
- Arizona (7-2): Washington, at No. 23 Utah, at No. 6 Arizona State.
- Georgia (7-2): Auburn, Charleston Southern, Georgia Tech.
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