The one crew everybody thought was unbeatable all season lengthy proved it’s, in truth, fallible.
Top-ranked, 12-0 Georgia entered Saturday’s SEC championship as a 6.5-point favourite over No. 3 Alabama. The Bulldogs boasted the clear No. 1 protection within the nation with an offense that was environment friendly and efficient. None of that mattered in opposition to Nick Saban, Bryce Young and Alabama, which beat Georgia 41-24 to give the Bulldogs their first lack of the season.
TOP-10 LOSSES: Georgia | Oklahoma State
That raises the query: What occurs to Georgia now? More particularly: Does the Bulldogs’ loss to Alabama create a possible path to the playoff for 11-1 Notre Dame and 11-2 Big 12 champion Baylor?
Georgia was thought of a lock for the College Football Playoff coming into Saturday’s recreation, even with a loss. No one anticipated the Crimson Tide to beat Kirby Smart and Co., particularly as handily as they did. But the Bulldogs’ physique of labor ought to nonetheless be sufficient to grant them entry into the College Football Playoff. The solely query is that if they fall to No. 3 or No. 4.
Sporting News breaks down how, even with its loss, Georgia mustn’t fear about getting jumped by both of Notre Dame or Baylor following convention championship weekend:
MORE: Notre Dame CFP situations: Can Fighting Irish make playoff with Cincinnati loss?
Table of Contents
CFP credentials: Georgia vs. Notre Dame vs. Baylor
Georgia has essentially the most wins. The Bulldogs’ report will possible be extra carefully in contrast to Notre Dame’s contemplating each groups have one loss, however the Bulldogs have the additional advantage of taking part in throughout convention championship weekend whereas the Fighting Irish remained idle.
The Bears are the one crew that may boast a convention championship, however that possible will not quantity to a lot contemplating they’ve two losses. In the playoff period, just one prerequisite has remained fixed: You can’t lose two video games. That unwritten rule value Penn State (2016) and Ohio State (2017) and can possible value the Bears in 2021.
Rankings replicate loss at time of defeat
Again, Georgia ranks forward of Notre Dame and (particularly) Baylor by way of finest loss. Alabama, ranked No. 3 on the time it beat Georgia, will undoubtedly be the top-ranked crew within the playoff on Sunday, which can stand out prominently for the Bulldogs’ playoff report. Notre Dame additionally has a loss in opposition to a playoff opponent in No. 4 Cincinnati, however misplaced that recreation at residence when the Bearcats had been ranked No. 7 within the nation.
Meanwhile, Baylor avenged certainly one of its solely two losses of the 12 months when it beat No. 5 Oklahoma State in a rematch of its 24-14 defeat earlier within the season, ranked No. 19 on the time. Had that been the Bears’ solely lack of the 12 months, they very properly may have jumped into the highest 4 — or, a minimum of, had a greater declare to transfer up. But that Week 10 loss to a 3-9 TCU crew is killer. Even if it was Baylor’s solely loss, it merely would not examine to Georgia or Notre Dame’s.
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Wins over ranked opponents
Rankings replicate Week 14 CFP high 25 rankings
Georgia claims the identical variety of ranked wins as Baylor (three) whereas Notre Dame claims none. Like the Bulldogs, the Bears have one one-possession victory and two two-possession victories. But the Bears’ wins are at present ranked increased than Georgia’s, and have a greater total report than Georgia’s (31-6 vs. 26-10).
The query stays: Is that going to be sufficient for a two-loss Baylor to cross a Georgia crew that has set an AP Top 25 report because the consensus No. 1 crew eight weeks in a row?
Strength of schedule/report
This is the place issues get tough. Georgia has the worst power of schedule by far, rating six spots behind Notre Dame (50) and 13 spots behind Baylor (43). But it clearly has one of the best power of report, which ESPN defines as, “the chance that a mean top-25 crew may obtain a crew’s report given the actual schedule that crew has confronted.” Basically, it measures the chance a mean top-25 crew may have the identical report in opposition to a crew’s given schedule.
What does that imply? Georgia has a weaker total power of schedule however has performed properly sufficient that no different crew — Notre Dame and Baylor — may declare pretty much as good an opportunity of remaining undefeated in opposition to it. Indeed, earlier than Saturday’s recreation, Georgia had by far the highest-ranked margin of victory over another crew within the nation, per TeamRankings.com: 32.4 ppg, in contrast to Notre Dame (17.0 ppg) and Baylor (9.9 ppg).
ESPN has but to replace its FPI rankings following Saturday’s video games however, coming into convention championship weekend, Georgia clearly had the highest FPI ranking within the nation, which ESPN defines as, “a predictive ranking system that makes use of superior analytics to consider crew power.” So the upper the ranking the stronger the crew.
Entering Saturday, Georgia claimed a 29.9 FPI ranking, good for first nationally. Notre Dame’s 17.1 ranking ranks fifth, whereas Baylor’s 11.2 ranks 18th nationally. Only two different groups rank within the 20s by way of FPI ranking: Alabama (24.4) and two-loss Ohio State (24.3).
Alabama is making the playoff. Ohio State, which has two losses and was idle on Saturday, will not. The different groups to make the playoff in Cincinnati and Michigan — if it wins the Big Ten championship — would be the different two groups within the playoff. Ultimately, that is what it comes down to: Georgia has been so dominant for therefore lengthy that no end result on Saturday may have saved it out of the playoff.
Notre Dame has solely the one loss, and Baylor has a Power 5 convention championship. But that in the end would not match up in opposition to Georgia’s sustained season-long dominance.