Could scrambled College Football Playoff rankings spring Georgia bowl game surprise?
ATHENS — Georgia football is headed back to a New Year’s Six Bowl, and most are projecting it will be the Peach Bowl in Atlanta against Cincinnati.
But there is plenty of room for other scenarios to play out, depending on how the College Football Playoff rankings shake out this afternoon.
The No. 8-ranked Bulldogs (7-2) missed an opportunity to showcase their improved offense and honor their seniors on Saturday when winless Vanderbilt opted out. Georgia dropped from No. 10 to No. 11 in the AP Poll released on Sunday.
That could foreshadow Georgia slipping in the final CFP rankings when they are released at 12:15 p.m. today.
The CFP Semifinal matchups, at the Rose Bowl (moved to Arlington, Texas) and Sugar Bowl this season, will be released during the selection show at noon today on ESPN.
Alabama and Clemson are shoo-ins, the Tide holding on to beat Florida in the SEC Championship Game on Saturday night, 52-46, while the Tigers mauled Notre Dame 34-10 in the ACC Championship game earlier in the day.
Ohio State, Notre Dame and Texas A&M are vying for the Nos. 3 and 4 spots, each with a good case to be made for having a playoff resume.
Cincinnati, ranked No. 9 last week and now 9-0 after beating Tulsa in the American Athletic Conference Championship Game on Saturday (27-24), is also claiming a case.
How those CFP playoff pairings fall could have a direct effect on Georgia — especially if Texas A&M is in the field of four.
The New Year’s Six Bowls will be announced starting at 2:30 p.m. today.
The Orange Bowl has tie-ins to take the highest-ranked ACC team that’s not in the CFP field and match it with the highest-ranked SEC or Big Ten team that’s not in the CFP field.
There’s still a remote chance Georgia could be that SEC team in the Orange Bowl, though that seemed to be lessened after the Gators put up a much more contested fight against Alabama than many expected.
Florida ranked ahead of the Bulldogs in last week’s CFP ratings, and a case can be made the Gators should stay ranked ahead of Georgia even after the loss to Alabama.
While the Orange Bowl has those stipulations in place for its selection process, the other three New Year’s Six Bowls do not.
The CFP will set the pairings for the Peach Bowl, the Cotton Bowl and the Fiesta Bowl
There has been speculation the bowls may have a more regionalized feel with the CFP wanting to minimize travel complications amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but nothing official has been said.
Here’s a look at last week’s CFP Top 12 and how each team fared on Saturday:
1. Alabama (11-0) beat Florida in SEC title game, 52-46
2. Notre Dame (10-1) lost to Clemson in ACC title game, 34-10
3. Clemson (10-1) beat Notre Dame in ACC title game, 34-10
4. Ohio State (6-0) beat Northwestern in Big Ten title game, 22-10
5. Texas A&M (8-1) beat Tennessee in Knoxville, 34-13
6. Iowa State (8-3) lost to Oklahoma in Big 12 title game, 27-21
7. Florida (8-3) lost to Alabama in SEC title game, 52-46
8. Georgia (7-2) did not play, Vanderbilt opted out
9. Cincinnati (9-0) beat Tulsa in AAC title game, 27-24
10. Oklahoma (8-2) beat Iowa State in Big 12 title game, 27-21
11. Indiana (6-1) game with Purdue canceled
12. Coastal Carolina Sun Belt title game with Louisiana canceled