ATHENS – It was early evening at the Georgia football facility, and the second edition of the College Football Playoff rankings were about to be released. But senior cornerback Aaron Davis didn’t sound like he cared much.
“It’s definitely not on my mind. I don’t think it’s on anyone else on the team’s mind,” Davis said. “There’s this week. There’s two more weeks. It’s going to change.”
But it didn’t change this week: Georgia is still No. 1.
The playoff selection committee held steady for a second straight week, despite Alabama being No. 1 in the traditional polls (Associated Press and coaches). Georgia was No. 1 in the committee’s first ranking of the season, edging out Alabama largely on the strength of its win at Notre Dame.
Entering the rankings show Tuesday night, there was little expectation that Georgia and Alabama would switch spots. They were both coming off 24-10 wins over six-win teams.
Kirby Hocutt, chairman of the selection committee, said Alabama had a bit of a tougher game last weekend (against LSU) than Georgia did (South Carolina). But that wasn’t enough to flip-flop the Bulldogs and Crimson Tide.
“I would say the margin of separation continues to be close,” Hocutt said during the announcement show on ESPN. “I would say the difference for Georgia remains the win at Notre Dame.”
The rankings could shake up considerably next week, as there are three games Saturday matching teams in the top 10:
- No. 1 Georgia at No. 10 Auburn
- No. 3 Notre Dame at No. 7 Miami
- No. 6 TCU at No. 5 Oklahoma
No. 2 Alabama plays at No. 15 Mississippi State.
Now Georgia heads into its pivotal matchup at Auburn. But the mantra around the team remains to ignore the rankings as much as possible — similar to how the team has basically shrugged clinching the SEC East title, its first division title since 2012.
“There’s really no celebration,” tailback Sony Michel said. “We really didn’t know till after the game. And now it’s like there’s no time for celebration. We’ve got a great team in front of us, and we’ve got to prepare for it.”
Kirby Smart didn’t field any questions about the impending rankings during his post-practice news conference Tuesday. The Georgia coach didn’t seem particularly pleased with practice, not offering an opening statement, instead just asking for questions.
Senior nose tackle John Atkins said the coaches don’t have to preach anything about looking ahead or thinking they’ve arrived.
“Our leadership doesn’t let it get that far,” Atkins said. “Right now, our freshmen are undefeated. They haven’t lost a game. We’ve all been through the 8-5 seasons and stuff like that. We talk to them and tell them it’s not over. We’ve still got to practice.”