The first College Football Playoff rankings of the 2020 season were dropped on Tuesday night. And as they always seem to do, the rankings sparked intense debate across the college football landscape.
Alabama came in at No. 1 and there was little surprise or shock there. Notre Dame sat at No. 2, which makes sense after its win over Clemson. But the Tigers were ranked ahead of unbeaten Ohio State, which came in at No. 4. The Buckeyes have played just three games in 2020 and did not look all that impressive in their win over No. 12 Indiana this past Saturday.
As for Georgia, it still landed in the top-10, as it came in at No. 9. But that ranking seems to be highly controversial given how the Bulldogs have played over the past month as well as factoring in some of the teams the College Football Playoff committee had behind Georgia.
Below we offer up our thoughts on the ranking, the reaction to it and what it means for Georgia’s bowl game.
National Media not happy with Georgia football ranking
When the Bulldogs were unveiled as the No. 9 team in the rankings, it seemed legitimately shocking. The Bulldogs were ahead of every other two-loss team such as Oklahoma and Iowa State and even some Power 5 schools like Oregon and Miami that have better records.
Georgia is ranked No. 13 in the AP Poll, so it’s not a surprise to see some in the national media that are dubious of the high ranking.
Georgia isn’t even a good eye test team. WTF are you doing, committee?
— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) November 25, 2020
If Georgia is the No. 9 team in the country, I’m not losing my hair.
— Barrett Sallee (@BarrettSallee) November 25, 2020
Only one reason UGa is #9 pic.twitter.com/vewV1LpR3I
— Danny Kanell (@dannykanell) November 25, 2020
People bothered by UGA at 9..
They beat #22 Auburn… convincingly.
My question… who else you going to put there? What’s Miami’s best win? Indiana’s?
I think Oklahoma, BYU and Iowa St. have an argument, but outside of those three, I’m not sure there’s a gripe to be made.
— Greg McElroy (@GregMcElroy) November 25, 2020
Surprised the CFP has UGA up as high as No. 9. Lost by 17 and 16 to Bama and UF and just barely beat a Miss. State team with on 49 scholarship players.
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) November 25, 2020
Gary Barta asked about No. 9 Georgia: He says the Committee kept in mind UGA’s only losses were to Alabama and Florida and they have a “quality win” over Auburn.
— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) November 25, 2020
Both of Georgia’s losses were to teams that are ranked higher than it but both of those games were decided by double digits. It should also be noted that Georgia’s two wins over the past month have been rather unimpressive contests against Kentucky and Mississippi State.
What did the College Football Playoff Committee say about Georgia football?
So how did the College Football Playoff Committee justify ranking the Bulldogs No. 9?
It has to do with its schedule as well as a win over No. 22 Auburn, which is a better win than what the likes of No. 10 Miami and No. 12 Indiana have.
Gary Barta, the chair of the College Football Playoff selection committee, also stated that Georgia having played the likes of Alabama and Florida factored into the ranking. No. 11 Oklahoma meanwhile has losses to No. 13 Iowa State and an unranked Kansas State team.
It’s clear that the committee is at this point willing to give a benefit to teams that have played more games, which is why an unbeaten Oregon comes in at No. 15.
And as for media darling BYU, an unbeaten team that has played nine games already, it comes down to its strength of schedule. Or rather the Cougars’ lack of a strong schedule
“As you look at their schedule, and that is where the committee went their best win is against Boise State,” Barta told ESPN’s Rece Davis. “Boise was short-handed in that game. The committee is very impressed with BYU but certainly schedule compared to the teams around them came into play.”
🗣Hear now from Gary Barta, chair of the #CFBPlayoff selection committee, who chatted with @ESPN‘s @ReceDavis following the announcement of the first College Football Playoff rankings of the 2020 season!
— College Football Playoff (@CFBPlayoff) November 25, 2020
Where does Georgia football go from here?
Despite what the national media says, this ranking is ultimately a good thing for the Bulldogs, especially in terms of where it ends up come the end of the season.
If it is able to maintain its No. 9 ranking, Georgia will be well-positioned to make a New Years Six bowl. The SEC will almost certainly be sending one team to the College Football Playoff. The highest-ranked non-playoff SEC team goes to the Sugar Bowl. Barring a loss in one of its final three regular-season games, that seems like Florida or maybe Texas A&M, as the committee does have the Aggies ranked higher due to their head-to-head win over Florida.
That leaves Florida and Georgia as likely candidates for an at-large spot for the other possible New Years Six spots. Berths to the Cotton Bowl, Fiesta Bowl and Peach Bowl all go to at-large teams, while the Orange Bowl will match the highest-ranked non-playoff ACC —Miami at this point — against either an SEC or Big Ten foe.
Many have asked what Georgia has left to play for in this season, given a path to the SEC championship game seems out of reach. Well with this lofty ranking, Georgia pretty clearly has a prestigious bowl game to play for and possibly play in, if it takes care of business over its final handful of games.
The Bulldogs will get their first crack at validating the No. 9 ranking on Saturday against South Carolina. The game is set for a 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff and will air on the SEC Network.
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