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Richard LeCounte has emerged as a key member of the Georgia defense.

How Georgia can create ‘armageddon’ for the College Football Playoff committee

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Georgia could blow up the College Football Playoff

Georgia really only has one path back into the College Football Playoff: The Bulldogs and Kirby Smart are going to have to beat No. 1 Alabama on Dec. 1 in the SEC Championship game.

The Bulldogs once again came in at No. 5 in Tuesday night’s College Football Playoff rankings. It’s still behind No. 4 Michigan among the one-loss teams, largely because Michigan’s one loss (24-17 at No. 3 Notre Dame) is a heck of a lot better looking than Georgia’s (36-16 at No. 7 LSU).

But none of that will matter come Dec. 2—the day the four College Football Playoff teams will be announced—if Georgia is able to take down Alabama. We’ve got plenty of time to preview how Georgia is going to be able to do that (hint: it’s how Georgia wins every game, by running the ball and stopping the run).

What we can talk about now is what some of the top ESPN analysts had to say about Georgia beating Alabama. Because when the subject of which top-four team losing would cause the most chaos or “armageddon” as it was put on Tuesday, multiple ESPN analysts circled Alabama specifically losing to Georgia as the result that would create the most discussion and/or anarchy.

“If Alabama loses to Georgia, that’s the scenario where we get into really looking the top four because they’ve looked at them (Alabama) as the best team all year,” ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit said “Georgia just beat Alabama, so they’ve got to be in. Who would be left out? That would be armageddon this year for the committee.”

Alabama has undoubtedly been the best team to this point in the season. If the Crimson Tide were to suffer a close loss at the hands of the Bulldogs, a team that has been ranked in the Top 10 all year, should that really slide them out of the College Football Playoff?

Some don’t think so, as ESPN Analyst Joey Galloway declared the Crimson Tide will be in College Football Playoff regardless of what happens the rest of the way. But let’s say for argument’s sake that Georgia does beat Alabama. What should happen then? Let’s say Clemson, Notre Dame and Michigan win out, which one of those teams is getting left at home? Could Georgia possibly get left out, despite beating Alabama?

Personally I would put Clemson, Notre Dame, Georgia and Michigan in the playoff were that to happen, because I value winning your conference. Others might view it differently and that’s fine. You could say Georgia has the worst loss and decide to keep them out because of that. Or keep Michigan out because of its loss to Notre Dame.

ESPN analyst and former Bulldogs quarterback David Pollack had a different take on the matter of Alabama losing. Pollack reasoned that should Alabama lose, we might actually get some clarity on how much things like head-to-head and conference championships truly mean.

“That would be fun. If Alabama lost, we’re really going to see how they view this criteria,” Pollack said. “We’re going to find out how much this stuff matters.”

College football is rarely a simple and straight forward sport. Every season has a number of twists and turns that upset the ideas we thought we knew. We thought Miami was unbeatable in 2002. It wasn’t. We thought Ohio State was going to wallop Florida in the 2006 title game. Turns out it was the other way around. Alabama wasn’t supposed to be able to lose in 2016. Well it could and did, as it lost to Clemson in the national championship game.

This past week, no teams in the Top 10 of the College Football Playoff lost. That won’t be the case going forward, especially because we’re likely to see at least two Top-10 matchups between No. 1 Alabama and No. 5 Georgia and No. 4 Michigan vs. No. 10 Ohio State. So we’re guaranteed to at least some shake-up in the closing weeks.

I’m sure there are people out there that are rooting for the current top-4 —Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Michigan— to win out. That playoff foursome would draw massive ratings and create nationwide interest. But Georgia has a chance to spoil all of it and knock one of those big brands out of contention. As a fan of chaos, I hope the Bulldogs do it. Because college football tends to be more fun when there’s a dumb argument to be had about who is actually the fourth best team.

The door all but closes on John Emery Jr.

Georgia fans, if they hadn’t already, can pretty much kiss any chance of getting 5-star running back John Emery Jr. back goodbye. The one-time UGA commit announced on Tuesday that he will be playing for LSU in the fall of 2019 and beyond. It’s not a surprise considering that he is from Louisiana, and top Louisiana prospects rarely leave the state. 

Emery Jr. backed off his pledge in October, but UGA fans shouldn’t worry too much about where the Bulldogs will turn at running back. The two names to know are Kenny McIntosh and Noah Cain. McIntosh hails from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and is the nation’s No. 10 running back. Cain meanwhile plays at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., and is the No. 7 running back in the country.

McIntosh was in Athens this past weekend on his official visit, while Cain will be making his visit during the Georgia Tech game on Oct. 24. DawgNation recruiting reporter Jeff Sentell caught up with both recruits recently. You can read Sentell’s excellent insight on Cain by clicking here and McIntosh by clicking here. 

And it’s not like Georgia won’t be loaded at running back next year anyway. The Bulldogs will be getting sophomore standout D’Andre Swift back for sure, while Elijah Holyfield and Brian Herrien could both decide to stay for their senior seasons. And that’s before even mentioning freshman James Cook, the nation’s No. 5 running back in the 2018 class, and Zamir White, the nation’s No. 1 running back in the 2018 recruiting cycle.

So while Georgia missed out on an elite running back on Tuesday night, the Bulldogs still have plenty of good-to-great ball carriers to rely on in the future.

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