Dominant Georgia gives College Football Playoff an Alabama feel

1 month ago 11

Four teams were selected to the College Football Playoff connected Sunday afternoon, but determination is simply a chiseled separation betwixt No. 1 Georgia and the different three.

It’s the undefeated, defending nationalist champion Bulldogs and 3 incomplete teams: No. 2 Michigan, No. 3 TCU and No. 4 Ohio State.

For conscionable the 2nd clip successful the nine-year past of the playoff, Alabama won’t beryllium portion of deciding the champion. The Crimson Tide’s 2 losses, and deficiency of a signature win, were excessively overmuch to overcome. Nick Saban’s squad finished 5th successful the committee’s rankings, meaning a two-loss squad inactive has ne'er been selected to the playoff.

But that doesn’t mean the playoff won’t person an Alabama consciousness to it. Georgia (13-0) is the caller Alabama, the overwhelming favourite to go the archetypal repetition champion since … Alabama successful 2011-12. The Bulldogs person won 15 consecutive games and 29 of their past 30 contests.

They are 7-point favorites implicit Ohio State connected New Year’s Eve successful the Peach Bowl successful Atlanta. They went undefeated successful the SEC, destroyed 15th-ranked Oregon to statesman the play and truly haven’t had to sweat each season.

Now, the committee didn’t bash Georgia immoderate favors by sending Ohio State south. The Buckeyes are a much talented squad than TCU, which volition look Michigan successful the Fiesta Bowl successful Glendale, Ariz., successful the archetypal crippled connected Dec. 31.

Kendall Milton breaks distant  for Georgia successful  the SEC Championship Game.Kendall Milton breaks distant for Georgia successful the SEC Championship Game.Getty Images

The Buckeyes, if they tin get explosive playmakers Jaxon Smith-Njigba and TreVeyon Henderson backmost from injury, could airs a situation to the Bulldogs, with a puncher’s chance.

The existent question heading into the announcement Sunday was this: Would TCU clasp disconnected Ohio State astatine No. 3? After all, portion Ohio State was idle connected Saturday, portion the Horned Frogs mislaid 31-28 successful overtime to Kansas State successful the Big 12 Championship.

“When you look astatine TCU, 6-1 implicit teams implicit .500, 2-1 against ranked teams, Ohio State had the bully wins implicit Penn State and Notre Dame, played Michigan adjacent for 3 quarters of the game,” committee president Boo Corrigan said connected a video call. “But astatine the extremity of the time we came backmost to TCU, and determination was thing that occurred during that [Big-12 title] crippled against Kansas State that we didn’t judge moved them retired of the No. 3 spot.”

All 3 of the teams that are not Georgia person shown weaknesses, adjacent Michigan (13-0), which won’t person the services of prima moving backmost Blake Corum, who had country connected his injured near knee. Without Corum, Michigan whitethorn not person the violative firepower indispensable to bent with the Bulldogs. TCU (12-1) is coming disconnected that nonaccomplishment to ninth-ranked Kansas State, hasn’t faced anyone adjacent to Georgia’s caliber and has had to rally from down each play against mediocre Big 12 opponents. Ohio State (11-1) was precocious blown retired astatine location by Michigan and hasn’t looked close each season. The Buckeyes lone were selected due to the fact that USC was manhandled by Utah connected Friday nighttime successful the Pac-12 Championship game, which Ohio State manager Ryan Day admitted Sunday was a unusual mode to scope the playoff.

Ohio State and Michigan are besides  successful  the College Football PlayoffOhio State and Michigan are besides successful the College Football PlayoffUSA TODAY Sports

“I don’t cognize however galore radical are going to springiness america a accidental successful this crippled [against Georgia],” Day said.

Georgia, indeed, has unthinkable balance. It is ranked 2nd successful scoring defence (12.7) and 11th successful points scored (39.2), 18th successful rushing discourtesy and 19th successful passing. The Bulldogs’ defence has allowed 23 points successful the archetypal 4th each season. Georgia outscored the absorption by an absurd 509-166. Its 8 SEC opponents managed conscionable 97 points. Only 1 crippled was decided by a azygous score, a 26-22 triumph implicit Missouri connected Oct. 1. Georgia outscored the 3 champion opponents it faced — No. 6 Tennessee, No. 17 LSU and Oregon — 129-36.

There was immoderate thought the Bulldogs would instrumentality a spot of a measurement backmost this season, aft they mislaid truthful galore cardinal players to the NFL. Only 10 starters returned from past year’s title squad, and they were ranked 3rd successful the preseason Associated Press Poll.

That hasn’t mattered. Five-star players person replaced five-star players. This squad is really much balanced, not rather arsenic babelike connected a stifling defence and ascendant moving back. Quarterback Stetson Bennett had a terrific year, throwing for 20 touchdowns and 3,425 yards, with lone six interceptions, portion completing 68.1 percent of his passes.

Kirby Smart and Georgia backmost   Stetson Bennett observe  during the SEC Championship Game.Kirby Smart and Georgia backmost Stetson Bennett observe during the SEC Championship Game.AP

Alabama was the preseason favorite, the squad with the dense Heisman Trophy favourite successful the 2021 winner, backmost Bryce Young. Ohio State was next, connected insubstantial 1 of the much talented radical of Buckeyes successful years. At slightest they reached the playoff, dissimilar the underwhelming Crimson Tide.

Georgia, meanwhile, has done what Alabama has truthful often done nether Saban: Replace stars with stars, and someway get amended aft losing cardinal players. Now the Bulldogs volition look to repeat, and volition bash arsenic the odds-on favourite to beryllium the past squad standing, Jan. 9 astatine SoFi Stadium successful Inglewood, Calif. Anything other would beryllium the biggest astonishment of an unpredictable season.