Georgia football should not have dropped from No. 1 to No. 6

Georgia coach Kirby Smart walks off the field after the Bulldogs lost the SEC championship game.
Georgia coach Kirby Smart walks off the field after the Bulldogs lost the SEC championship game. /

In the history of the College Football Playoff, no team that entered Championship Weekend ranked first overall has ever dropped out of the final four-team field. On Sunday, Georgia football became the first.

This year’s field was as crowded as could be, and it featured the most suspenseful selection in a long time. There were the undefeated conference champions in Michigan, Washington, and Florida State, and then the one-loss champs Texas and Alabama, along with the other one-loss hopefuls Georgia and Ohio State.

Obviously, there were plenty of teams ready to pounce in the rankings the moment Georgia faltered, but still, the Bulldogs’ drop doesn’t quite add up.

The Bulldogs were the committee’s top-ranked team for most of the season. Before the loss to Alabama, Georgia had steamrolled all of their quality competition.

They blew out 11th-ranked Ole Miss 52-17. They beat 25-ranked Tennessee 38-10. They scored 50-plus points twice, 45-plus points five times, and 40-plus points six times. Their average margin of victory was 20.2 this season, the sixth-best mark in the country.

The committee said, week after week, that this was the best team in the nation.

Georgia’s undoing? A three-point loss to Alabama. A team that the committee deemed a playoff team on Sunday.

So, how does Georgia fall all the way from first to sixth?

They have the best loss of the one-loss teams. The loss to Alabama is much stronger than Texas’ loss to Oklahoma.

Even in the crowded field, where squeezing in over Texas or Alabama seemed improbable, Georgia falling below Florida State is a laughable move. The Seminoles’ offense was abysmal without Jordan Travis, and should Georgia and Florida State meet in a New Year’s Six Bowl, the Bulldogs will undoubtedly be heavy favorites.

The selection show broadcast didn’t do much to address Georgia’s unprecedented fall.

So, what is the criteria? We may never know. Is it best teams, as Bill Hancock said? It is most deserving?

Or, is it just a nebulous concoction of whatever sounds right at the moment? That’s certainly what it seems like.

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