What the latest College Football Playoff rankings mean for Georgia football bowl possibilities
Another Tuesday night means another round of College Football Playoff rankings. The newest rankings always lead to more faux-outrage about where teams that aren’t realistic playoff contenders should rank. But more importantly, it gives us a better road map to what the end of the season rankings might look like and thus which teams will go to the corresponding bowl games.
The top four teams remain unchanged with Alabama at No. 1, Notre Dame at No. 2, Clemson at No. 3 and Ohio State staying at No. 4 even without playing last week. Texas A&M is still at No. 5 and Florida remains at No. 6.
The Georgia Bulldogs sit at No. 8 this week, moving up one spot this week. The Bulldogs are the highest rated two-loss team in the poll and sit ahead of the likes of Miami, Indiana and BYU.
The Bulldogs moving up is big for a number of reasons. For starters, Georgia held its high standing despite losing a win over a ranked opponent with Auburn getting trounced by Alabama. Georgia currently has no wins over a ranked foe, but the College Football Playoff committee thinks highly enough of Georgia’s two losses to top-6 teams that it is worthy of a top-10 ranking.
The lofty ranking also keeps Georgia very much in the running to play in one of the New Year’s Six bowl games. As of right now, most major publications have Georgia penciled in to play in the Peach Bowl against No. 7 Cincinnati. Georgia would get an at-large berth into the game.
The Bearcats are unbeaten on the season but don’t play again until they take on No. 24 Tulsa on Dec. 12. Cincinnati is the highest-ranked Group of 5 team, meaning it would get an automatic berth into a New Years Six bowl game. The second-highest ranked Group of 5 team is actually Coastal Carolina, as BYU is classified as an independent.
Cincinnati could very likely see Tulsa again in the American Athletic Conference title game which is set to be played on Dec. 19. If Tulsa beats Navy this weekend, Cincinnati and Tulsa will play on consecutive weekends.
It should be noted that the last two times a Power 5 program has played a Group of 5 team in the Peach Bowl, the Group of 5 team has actually been the winning side. Houston beat Florida State in the 2015 edition of the game, while UCF famously beat Auburn back in 2018.
If things don’t get weird and the favorites continue to win, Georgia will in all likelihood play Cincinnati in the Peach Bowl in Atlanta. The game is set to be played on Jan. 1.
But this college football, where weird things tend to happen much more often than they should.
Where things potentially get interesting for Georgia is what happens with Texas A&M. Florida seems poised to close out its schedule with wins against Tennessee and possibly LSU, should that game get played. Given the Gators have a clear head-to-head win over Georgia, the committee will have Florida slotted above Georgia— as the committee has Texas A&M over Florida and Iowa State over Oklahoma — in the event the Gators lose in the SEC championship game to Alabama and finish with two losses. Florida only needs a win against Tennessee to clinch a berth in the game.
But the Aggies have a game at Auburn this weekend before potentially finishing with games against Tennessee and Ole Miss. And for all the problems Auburn has had as of late, Gus Malzahn hasn’t lost to Jimbo Fisher since the latter took the job with the Aggies.
Should Texas A&M fall, it would give the committee an interesting decision to make in terms of ranking them with regards to Georgia. If the season ended today, Texas A&M would play in the Sugar Bowl as the highest-ranked SEC team not in the playoff.
If Texas A&M losses and falls below Georgia in the College Football Playoff rankings, it opens up the possibility of Georgia moving its way up into playing the highest-ranked non-playoff team from the ACC in the Orange Bowl. As the current rankings have it, that would be Miami. But should one of Notre Dame or Clemson not make the College Football Playoff, it would likely fall to either of those teams.
For Georgia though to even get to all these scenarios, it starts with winning this Saturday against Vanderbilt. The Bulldogs and Commodores are set to play at 4 p.m. ET on the SEC Network. Georgia will officially learn the status of its game against Missouri on Friday. That game has the possibility of being played on either Dec. 12 or Dec. 19
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