The eyes of the college football world will be on Atlanta on Saturday in an SEC championship with heavy bets on the College Soccer Knockout.
No.1 Georgia will enter the game as a near-fight favorite to beat No.3 Alabama in the conference title game in an unprecedented win over the Bulldogs. Only three times since the first SEC Championship Game has Georgia won the SEC, with wins coming in 2002, 2005 and 2017. The Bulldogs have never beaten Alabama in the clash, with the Crimson Tide taking won the only two times the two sides clashed in the match.
Overall, Alabama has beaten Georgia six times in a row since 2008. Georgia head coach Kirby Smart has never beaten his former head coach, Nick Saban.
But this Georgia team looks different. Its defense is the best in the country. It has a balanced offense, averaging 40.7 points per game. The Bulldogs are undefeated, having beaten their opponents 488-83 this season and haven’t finished a game by two touches since a 10-3 win over Clemson in Week 1.
If there’s ever been a year for Georgia, this is like a year. What happens then for Alabama? Did the Crimson Tide make it to the College Rugby Round with a 11-2 record and no conference title? Sporting News breaks it down.
Alabama Curriculum Vitae
Before we dive into what needs to happen for Tide to compete for a national championship, it’s important to note that a two-fight Alabama loss to reach the CFP would be a first. Only four teams made it to the knockout stages without winning a convention championship: Ohio State 2016, Alabama 2017, Notre Dame 2018 and Notre Dame 2020. Neither team lost more than one game. But this has been an unusual year for CFP. Cincinnati could be the first Group of Five team to make it to the playoffs. Clemson was left out of the controversy. The state of Ohio is certainly out of the controversy. If Alabama does not participate, the field will likely include four teams that have never won the CFP title.
It’s also worth considering what the committee is currently looking at with the Crimson Tide. Alabama has been looking shaky in recent weeks, since a tight 20-14 win over LSU on Nov. 6. After beating New Mexico State, the Crimson Tide was once again in a close fight against No. 21 Arkansas. , where one drive brought a 42-35 win. Then, in head-to-head competition week, Alabama barely survived a terrifying game against the underrated Auburn, needing four passes to win 24-22.
Recent performances, along with a big Now-No win. 2 Michigan to 2nd place previously was Ohio State, which dropped the Crimson Tide from second place in the CFP rankings to third place, just two places above the finish line to reach the playoffs. . Beat Georgia in the SEC Championship, and Alabama’s playoff chances are almost certainly gone.
There’s still a lot to like with the Crimson Tide, which is why this conversation is even going. Alabama has a Heisman Trophy pioneered in Bryce Young – only one Heisman winner has failed the CFP – and is ranked among the best teams in all major categories.
|Average per game||FBS Rating|
|Total violations||492.2 yards||7|
|Give points for violation||42.7 points||5|
|Comprehensive defense||294.2 yards||7|
|Defensive Scoring||19.9 points||20|
It’s a great resume that few other teams can match and certainly looks to be a resume for a team in a position to achieve CFP. But Tide can be blown away by Bulldogs. They may lose a close match, but the remaining favorite candidates will win their conference. There may be chaos. To look at Alabama’s chances, we split the scenarios into two categories: a big loss and a close loss for Alabama.
Alabama is blown away
If Michigan, No. 4 Cincinnati, and No. 5 Oklahoma State win the convention championship games, Alabama is likely to be eliminated. Even if only two of those teams win, a big loss to the Bulldogs could make room for Fighting Irish to rise from 6th to squeeze in 4th.
However, there is still the possibility of Alabama entering with a big loss. If Michigan loses to Iowa, the Wolverines will have to do somersaults, and the number 13 Iowa will have to climb a long way to get past Alabama. A Cowboys loss to the Bears would likely remove both Big 12 teams from the picture as each team would have won the other during the season and lost to another foe. Notre Dame’s background remains questionable after an 11-1 campaign without a win against teams currently in the top 25.
However, the possibility of all 3 teams losing is hard to imagine. But then again, even just two losses in their title game would probably be enough to knock the Crimson Tide out of the playoffs for the second time in its history.
Georgia wins a close match
Now, what if Georgia was barely beaten by Alabama? This is where things get interesting for the committee and the Crimson Tide. As mentioned, Alabama’s background is one of the few that can be compared.
If even Michigan, Cincinnati or Oklahoma lose on Saturday, Alabama is still the team most likely to reap the rewards. The university football tournament organizer suggested that a change in coaching at Notre Dame could affect its candidacy. Does a Notre Dame team with no ranking win, lose to Cincinnati and Brand new head coach overcame CFP against an Alabama team with two ranked wins, narrowly lost to #1 Georgia and three points off Texas A&M 25? It seems impossible.
Even if all of Michigan, Cincinnati and Oklahoma State win, there could still be a discussion about the final two places. Cincinnati and Alabama would each have two ranked wins, but Alabama played in a tougher league. Oklahoma State will have three ranked wins, but two wins against the same team – Baylor – and it will be the only team in the CFP to lose to an underrated opponent. Michigan, already in 2nd place, is the only obvious key to join Georgia in the CFP in that scenario. However, that’s not the situation Alabama wants to be in, and the odds of them making it out of those circumstances seem low.
If all three lose and Alabama continues to lose close, the Crimson Tide will step in. If the two lose, Tide will probably stay based on the strength of their résumé. If one person loses, it’s probably a coin toss if Tide gets in.
In the end, Alabama will need a little help if it loses. Win, and discussion is over: Crimson Tide is in, and likely, No. 1. Losing, and there will be plenty of fans in Tuscaloosa, Ala., waiting breathlessly.