Georgia football rallied to escape an SEC road upset under the lights in Missouri, but the Bulldogs didn’t do so impressively enough to maintain the No. 1 ranking in the USA Today AFCA Coaches’ Poll on Sunday.
Georgia slipped from the No. 1 perch it had held in the previous two polls, falling to No. 2 on Sunday per the cumulative vote of the 64 FBS coaches selected to submit weekly ballots.
The Tide garnered 34 first-place votes to the Bulldogs’ 23, and No. 3 Ohio State got the other 7 first-place votes.
Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart won’t likely care too much, as he has pointed out several times that rankings do not affect the team’s expectations or the standards they seek to play at.
RELATED: How Georgia avoided upset at Missouri, details of key fourth-quarter drives
Smart was more in tune with how his reloaded football team -- which lost an NFL-record 15 players in the most recent draft -- responded under great adversity during a night of struggles.
“I couldn’t be prouder of our guys,” Smart said after the 26-22 win over the Tigers in Columbia. “At halftime, nobody blinked, nobody questioned. It was the most together I’ve ever seen our team.”
UGA outgained Missouri 481 to 294, but it turned the ball over twice on fumbles by Kendall Milton and Stetson Bennett, and it settled for four field goals before two fourth-quarter touchdowns.
RELATED: Kenny McIntosh ‘running over people’ lifts Bulldogs over Missouri
It was the first time Georgia has rallied from a double-digit deficit for a win since defeating Cincinnati in the Peach Bowl following the 2020 season.
Alabama, which regained the No. 1 spot it held prior to Georgia passing it in the Sept. 18 and Sept. 25 polls, also had to overcome some adversity when Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young suffered a shoulder sprain in the second quarter of its 49-26 win at Arkansas.
The Tide was leading 14-0 when Young was sidelined for the remainder of the game with the injury.
The Bulldogs also slipped to No. 2 behind Alabama in the FWAA Super 16 poll , which also came out on Sunday.
Georgia returns to action at 3:30 p.m. next Saturday at Sanford Stadium against Auburn.
1. Alabama (5-0), 34 first-place votes
2. Georgia (5-0), 23 first-place votes
3. Ohio State (5-0), 7 first-place votes
4. Michigan (5-0)
5. Clemson (5-0)
6. USC (5-0)
7. Oklahoma State (4-0)
8. Tennessee (4-0)
9. Ole Miss (5-0-)
10. Penn State (5-0)
11. Utah (4-1)
12. Oregon (4-1)
13. Kentucky (4-1)
14. NC State (4-1)
15. Wake Forest (4-1)
16. BYU (4-1)
17. Kansas (5-0)
18. TCU (4-0)
19. UCLA (5-0)
20. Kansas State (4-1)
21. Syracuse (5-0)
22. Baylor (3-2)
23. Mississippi State (4-1)
24. Washington (4-1)
25. Arkansas (3-2)
Others receiving votes: Cincinnati, LSU, Florida State, Florida, Washington State, Maryland, James Madison, Minnesota, Texas, Texas A&M, Air Force, Oklahoma, Coastal Carolina, Purdue, North Carolina, Tulane, Notre Dame, Illinois, Central Florida, Pitt, Duke.
FWAA Super 16 Poll
3. Ohio State
6. Oklahoma State
9. Penn State
10. Ole Miss