Once again your Georgia Bulldogs once again sit alone atop the College Football Playoff Rankings, And things are slowly coming into focus behind them, with spots 1 through 7 staying the same, and conviction growing that those spots at least make sense with what we know now.
And once again a crack team of Dawg Sports contributors is here to sort through it all and figure out where the committee got it right. Or wrong. Or maybe both.
DawgStats: Mississippi State and Arkansas enter the Top 25 joining SEC rivals Ole Miss, Alabama, and Georgia in the rankings. There are some games coming up which look to be elimination games. Arkansas gets a chance to play spoiler and upset at win at Alabama would radically shake things up. With no realistic chance of Georgia leaving the Benz with 2 losses, they have practically locked up a seed. OU losing to Baylor assures every other Power 5 conference champs will have a loss. 3 spots and potentially 4 one-loss conference champions + Notre Dame AND AN UNDEFEATED Cincinnati. This gets ugly for the committee from here on and they deserve it. This is nothing more than a +1 BCS beauty pageant and I am glad my team looks awfully damn pretty. Can’t wait for Notre Dame backdoor covering a 4 seed. PLEASE GOD GIVE ME YOUR CHOSEN TEAM AS A FOUR SEED. #FTMF,too
HNDawg: The top seven remain the same as expected, but we see Oklahoma State looking very dangerous at #9. The Pokes have the opportunity to piece together three more wins against Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and whoever makes it to the Big 12 Championship Game. If Oklahoma State can finish 12-1 with a Big 12 Championship, they could leapfrog Cincinnati and potentially grab a playoff spot if one of the current top four slips up.
Other notable rankings are Oklahoma falling to #13, Wisconsin rising to #15, and Houston getting into the rankings at #24. The Sooners are toast and could fall much further if they lose at home to Iowa State. The Badgers are trending in a more positive direction, winning five straight and poised to make life hard for whoever makes it to the Big Ten Championship Game from the East. Cincinnati is the most excited about Houston being ranked, giving them a potential boost to close out their season in the AAC Championship Game.
RedCrake: Georgia is, of course, #1 as they should be. Bama isn’t going anywhere until Georgia beats them (unless things get real freaky on The Plains. They have before, but this would be a truly shocking - and wonderful - outcome. Or Sam Pittman could do us all a solid, but I’m not holding my breath).
After that, things get fuzzier. Oregon at #3 is fine, because why not? Ohio State at #4, Michigan at #6, and Michigan State at #7 should sort themselves out before the B1G Championship Game. Cincinnati comes in at #5 and, despite the fury of their fanbase, they should… because they have looked wildly mediocre against extremely inferior opponents for the last month solid. #8 Notre Dame needs Cincinnati to lose. I can buy that the committee may have reasons for wanting to keep the Bearcats out, but an undefeated Cincy getting leapfrogged by a team they beat would likely bring more heat than the committee is willing to endure. Oklahoma State and Wake Forest at #9 and #10 can make things difficult for the committee by winning out and taking their respective conference championships, but I don’t know how likely that is. Neither team has a history of coming through in the clutch… Wake Forest doesn’t have a history of doing much of anything actually.
Others: Oklahoma drops to #13. OhNo.gif Texas A&M at #16 seems a bit high to me. Congrats on beating Bama. Seriously, we all appreciate it. And I can live with them being ranked above #21 Arkansas (who beat them by 10, albeit early in the season) because of that, but the gap between the two is larger than it should be in my opinion.
DawgOutWest: The committee continues to prop up Alabama by ranking a 4 loss Mississippi St team at 24th and a 3 loss A&M at 16th, but that’s all to be expected. I dig seeing Wake Forest at 10th, if only because it’s the most ACC thing ever and they have been one of the more entertaining watches in college football this year. I keep seeing names like James Franklin floated for open jobs, but somebody is going to mess around and hire Dave Clawson during this cycle and that program might end up doing more with its resources than anyone else this offseason.
I joked with Josh about this before recording a show a few weeks ago and he told me I was crazy, but prepare yourselves for playoff Notre Dame. If the chips keep falling like they have lately then they very well may slide into this. If you’re a fan of #1 Georgia heading into the CFP then you’d love to see a ND team that has been less than dynamic across the bracket from you.
Oregon is ranked 3rd, and the resume warrants it. That being said, it says a lot about the amount of good teams in college football right now when you realize they opened as a three point underdog to Utah this week. Cincy looked better this week, but they still don’t look like a playoff team. Despite that, you’d love to see them in the first round of the CFP if you’re Georgia.
If Mel Tucker wants to thank Kirby Smart for what he did to further his career he can beat the Buckeyes this weekend and knock them from playoff contention. This #4 ranked OSU team has the only offense that gives me any concern for Georgia.
DavetheDawg: I think we are going to see some changes this weekend as there very well could be some separation for at least 2 of the top 4 teams in this week’s poll. Oregon has a very tough task at Utah, so the Ducks are going to have to perform in a game I’ll certainly be watching. Michigan State at Ohio State is normally one of those “two mules fightin’ over a turnip” (in the words of Lewis Grizzard) type games, but I’ll be very interested in this one while watching your #1 Georgia Bulldogs play the entire bench against Charleston Southern.
I was texting with my cousin today. He’s part of the “northern branch” of my family (the Romanian side) as he currently lives up in Shelby Township, Michigan (metro Detroit area). All of his family are huge Ohio State fans and we were knocking around the idea of “what if” the Dawgs and the Buckeyes meet? Might have to tailgate with some relatives if we do! He flat told me his thoughts on our team: “Georgia’s defense is a B**TCH!” That’s a compliment, folks. He also thinks Ohio State’s defense is very suspect. I’m hoping we play ‘em down the road. Still, I’m glad to see tOSU behind Oregon coming in a #4 because of the Ducks head-to-head victory.
Alabama is firmly at #2 and the showdown on the first week of December might just break all sorts of TV ratings. Cincinnati holding at #5 is no surprise.
In other college football ranking news: Despite the fact that Florida absolutely mauled a 4-5 Samford team 70-52 on Saturday, I am sad to say that the Gators have dropped out of the FCS (formerly Division II) top 25. Go Gatuh!
Lugnut Dawg: Well, at least Georgia fans can rest easy. Barring a blowout loss in Atlanta, the Bulldogs are in the playoff.
I don’t buy the projection any one has of a 1 vs 4 Georgia - Alabama semifinal, because this format is made for TV, and TV wants that matchup in the finals..again.
A UGA - Cincy rematch? That’s another story, and a few weeks of “will Georgia finally get tested?”
SarahGDawg: The important thing to focus on during weeks like this, is not the top of the rankings but the bottom. The committee uses the bottom of its rankings, the areas that are not as contested and more up for grabs, to help justify what it does it at the top. With Auburn dropping from the rankings, it was a good time to bring in Mississippi State to help a certain number two team resume. Not necessarily saying that those other bulldogs don’t deserve to be ranked and that Alabama isn’t the number two team in the country, but a possible two loss Alabama (if we get it done in Dec!) getting in over an undefeated Cincinnati is a lot easier if they have “three ranked wins” and a ranked loss vs A&M. I find the weeks when they add someone in at the bottom, are weeks that they often show their hand on where they are headed in the end. So to everyone assuming the SEC champ determines the playoff appearance of Bama, I would say, I wouldn’t be so sure. Looks like the rankings this week might be setting up for a possible two SEC team playoff berth again.