Everyone expected the University of Georgia to go to Columbia and put a beatdown on the Gamecocks. What was not expected on Saturday was the outcome of the Northwestern, Michigan State contest. The Wildcats of Northwestern came into the game undefeated and ranked number 8 in the initial College Football Playoff Top 25. Thanks to a 29 to 20 upset of the Wildcats by former Georgia defensive coordinator Mel Tucker’s Sparty squad, UGA figures to climb up to 8 in the newest set of rankings. The question is, how much further could they climb?
Let’s take a little inventory of what lies ahead shall we? If indeed Georgia is now at 8, the 7th ranked teams is likely to still be Cincinnati. The undefeated Bearcats will have their two most difficult games coming up in Tulsa and the American Athletic Conference Championship game. Tulsa is currently 2nd behind Cincinnati in the AAC and the Golden Hurricanes have won 5 games in a row, with their only loss on the year to Oklahoma State to open the season 16 to 7 in Stillwater. Tulsa will host the Bearcats on December 12th. Tulsa goes to Navy next week in the meantime.
The teams remaining ahead of Georgia at the 4, 5, and 6 spots would be Ohio State, Texas A&M, and Florida respectively. Ohio State is in a precarious position. The Buckeyes are coming off their 2nd cancelled game of the year due to COVID, by BIG10 rules, OSU must play their next two games against Michigan State and Michigan to even be eligible for the BIG10 Championship game. Keep in mind, those that test positive in the BIG10 are out for a period of 21 days. It’s still undetermined if Ohio State will have enough players, coaches, and support staff available to reopen their facilities and prepare for Michigan State, if Ohio State proves ineligible for the BIG10 Championship due to lack of games played, the CFP Committee could very well deem them ineligible for the Playoff as well. Even if they are able to play Saturday versus Michigan State, it’s likely the Buckeyes will be doing so without much to any on-field preparation for Mel Tucker’s physical Spartans.
Of course there is also A&M and Florida. Florida needs just one victory over Tennessee or LSU remaining on their schedule to clinch the East. A&M for certain has Auburn and Tennessee remaining on their schedule, and it’s yet to be determined if the Ole Miss game will be reschedule for the Aggies. Gus Malzahn and Jeremey Pruitt are both coaching for their jobs it would seem at this point in the year. Can either one toppled a top-6 ranked opponent in the Gators or the Aggies? It seems a foregone conclusion that even if Florida beats UT and LSU, they’re heading for a throttling at the hands of Alabama in the SEC Championship game. A&M was less than inspiring against LSU at home.
It seems very likely that more losses occur ahead of the now presumed 8th ranked Bulldogs. The question is, how much weight does the committee place on Georgia AJTD (After JT Daniels) rather than Georgia BJTD (Before JT Daniels). The Dawgs have a legitimately scary offense on it’s hands with the accurate and strong armed Daniels at the helm. It’d be exciting to see the Dawgs get a shot to play in the New Year’s 6 and see what happens. Georgia will look to keep the momentum going against Vandy and Missouri to close the regular season.