The one team that everyone thought was unbeatable throughout the season has proven to be, in fact, fallible.
Leading the standings, Georgia 12-0 entered Saturday’s SEC Championship as a 6.5-point favorite against No.3 Alabama. The Bulldogs boasted of the No.1 defense at home with an offense. effective and efficient. None of that mattered against Nick Saban, Bryce Young and Alabama, who beat Georgia 41-24 to give the Bulldogs their first loss of the season.
TOP 10 LOSSES: Georgia | Oklahoma State
This begs the question: what happens to Georgia now? Specifically: Does the Bulldogs’ loss to Alabama create a potential path to the playoffs for the 11-1 Notre Dame and 11-2 Big 12 champion Baylor?
Georgia were seen as a lock on the college football playoffs heading into Saturday’s game, even with a loss. No one expected the Crimson Tide to beat Kirby Smart and Co., especially as easily as they did. But the Bulldogs’ overall work should still be enough to get them into the college football playoffs. The only question is whether they fall to # 3 or # 4.
Sporting News explains how, even with their loss, Georgia shouldn’t worry about getting blown up by Notre Dame or Baylor after the conference championship weekend:
MORE: Notre Dame CFP Scenarios: Can Fighting Irish Make The Playoffs With Losing Cincinnati?
CFP titles: Georgia vs Notre Dame vs Baylor
|our Lady||11-1||N / A|
|Baylor||11-2||Yes (Large 12)|
Georgia has the most wins. The Bulldogs’ record will likely be closer to Notre Dame as both teams have a loss, but the Bulldogs have the added benefit of playing during the Conference Championship weekend while the Fighting Irish have been inactive. .
The Bears are the only team that can boast of having a conference championship, but that probably won’t mean much considering they have two losses. In the age of the playoffs, only one prerequisite has remained constant: you cannot lose two games. This unwritten rule cost Penn State (2016) and Ohio State (2017) and will likely cost the Bears in 2021.
Rankings reflect loss at the time of defeat
|Georgia||Alabama # 3||41-24|
|our Lady||# 7 Cincinnati||24-13|
|Baylor||# 19 Oklahoma State||24-14|
Again, Georgia ranks ahead of Notre Dame and (especially) Baylor in terms of best loss. Alabama, ranked No.3 as they beat Georgia, will undoubtedly be the highest-ranked team in the playoffs on Sunday, which will stand out in a big way for the Bulldogs’ playoff record. Notre Dame also lost to a No. 4 playoff opponent in Cincinnati, but lost that game at home when the Bearcats were ranked No. 7 in the nation.
Meanwhile, Baylor avenged one of his only two losses of the year by defeating the Oklahoma State No.5 in a rematch of his 24-14 loss earlier in the season, ranked ranked 19th at the time. If that had been the only loss of the year for the Bears, they could very well have placed in the top four – or, at least, had a better claim to ride. But that Week 10 loss to a 3-9 TCU team is a killer. Even though it was Baylor’s only loss, it just doesn’t compare to Georgia or Notre Dame.
MORE: UCF pushes for Cincinnati to make 2021 college football playoffs
Outweighs Ranked Opponents
The rankings reflect the ranking of the 25 best CFP of week 14
|Team||Ranked wins||Beaten teams||Goal|
|Georgia||Three||# 20 Clemson||10-3|
|# 22 Arkansas||37-0|
|No. 23 Kentucky||30-13|
|Baylor||Three||Oklahoma State # 5||21-16|
|No. 12 BYU||38-24|
|# 14 Oklahoma||27-14|
Georgia claims the same number of ranked wins as Baylor (three) while Notre Dame claims none. Like the Bulldogs, the Bears have one victory in one possession and two wins in two possessions. But the Bears’ wins are currently ranked higher than Georgia’s and have a better overall record than Georgia’s (31-6 to 26-10).
The question remains: will that be enough for a two-defeated Baylor to overtake a Georgia side that set a PA Top 25 record as the No.1 team by consensus eight weeks in a row? ?
Calendar / folder strength
This is where things get complicated. Georgia has by far the worst strength on the schedule, ranking six places behind Notre Dame (50) and 13 places behind Baylor (43). But he clearly has the best record strength, which ESPN defines as “the probability that an average top 25 team can achieve a team’s record given the particular schedule that team has faced.” Basically, it measures the likelihood that an average top 25 team could have the same record over a team’s given schedule.
What does it mean? Georgia have a weaker overall schedule, but have played well enough that no other team – Notre Dame and Baylor – can claim such a good chance of remaining undefeated against them. Indeed, heading into Saturday’s game, Georgia had by far the highest-ranked margin of victory over any other team in the country, according to TeamRankings.com: 32.4 points per game, compared to Notre Dame (17.0 points per game) and Baylor (9.9 points per game).
ESPN has yet to update its FPI rankings following Saturday’s games, but, entering the conference championship weekend, Georgia clearly had the highest FPI rating in the country, which ESPN defines as “a. predictive scoring system that uses advanced analytics to assess team strength. So the higher the score, the stronger the team.
Entering on Saturday, Georgia claimed a 29.9 FPI rating, good for the first nationally. Notre Dame’s 17.1 rating ranks fifth, while Baylor’s 11.2 rating ranks 18th nationally. Only two other teams rank in the 1920s in terms of FPI odds: Alabama (24.4) and Ohio State (24.3) two-game losing streak.
Alabama makes the playoffs. Ohio State, which suffered two losses and was inactive on Saturday, will not do so. The other teams that make the playoffs in Cincinnati and Michigan – if they win the Big Ten Championship – will be the other two playoff teams. Ultimately, that’s what it boils down to: Georgia have been so dominant for so long that no result on Saturday could have kept them from making the playoffs.
Notre Dame has only one loss and Baylor has a Power 5 conference championship. But that ultimately doesn’t match Georgia’s continued dominance throughout the season.