College Football Power Rankings: Georgia's big move raises an SEC playoff question
Could the SEC actually ... possibly ... get three teams in the College Football Playoff?
Georgia's win over Notre Dame is either the first- or second-most significant of the season. (LSU over Texas needs to be considered.) Either way, it points up a possibility that shouldn't be far from any fan's mind: At least two SEC teams in the College Football Playoff.
Yeah, yeah, it's happened before (twice if you count the 2011 BCS Championship Game.) However, in this week's Power Rankings, the Bulldogs jumped from sixth to fourth after that significant win over the Irish.
Don't look now but that makes it three SEC squads in the top four in this week's Power Rankings. History -- and the remaining schedule -- tells us it's not likely to stay that way. Alabama hosts LSU in November, and one of those two will likely face Georgia in the SEC Championship Game.
But if you want to dream about CFP chaos, consider these possible results.
- Alabama or LSU win out in the regular season.
- The loser of that head-to-head matchup finishes 11-1 and doesn't have to risk its record in the championship game.
- Alabama, LSU or Georgia suffers their only loss in that SEC Championship Game.
- That leaves a 13-0 SEC champion, a championship game loser at 12-1 and an SEC West runner-up at 11-1.
Again, it's unlikely that three SEC teams will end up in the playoff, but it's worth considering. As are this week's Power Rankings …
|1||Clemson||Fun side bet. Will any of Clemson's eight remaining regular-season opponents get within three touchdowns? Charlotte couldn't get within six in a 52-10 loss. No pearl clutching but Trevor Lawrence leads the ACC in interceptions (five).||--||7-0|
|2||Alabama||Once again, a Tagovailoa starred. This time, we're talking Taulia, who completed his first career pass against Southern Miss. Big brother Tua had more touchdown passes (five) than incompletions (four). Starting four freshmen on defense, the Tide held the Eagles to only 204 yards.||--||7-0|
|3||LSU||Most point scored by Vanderbilt against LSU since 1948 (38). Most touchdown passes in LSU history (Joe Burrow, six). Most points by an SEC team through four games. (LSU, 241).||--||7-0|
|4||Georgia||Notre Dame had a great plan. Georgia had a great running back. D'Andre Swift ran for 98 yards, and Jake Fromm was his usual precise self. This might be who the Dawgs are this season: not flashy offensively but solid defensively.||2||6-1|
|5||Ohio State||At least the money stayed in-state. Ohio State paid Miami (Ohio) $1.3 million for agame. Then the RedHawks just paid. The Buckeyes annihilated Miami, 76-5. If they aren't the Big Ten favorite a third of the way through the season, you haven't watched much football.||--||7-0|
|6||Oklahoma||Bye. Decide for yourselves where Jalen Hurts stands in the Heisman Trophy race. His chief competitors (Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa) combined for 15 touchdown passes and no interceptions on Saturday.||2||7-0|
|7||Texas||What sort of world do we live in when Sam Ehlinger throws for four touchdown passes and it's hardly noticed? It was certainly of interest in Austin following a 36-30 win over Oklahoma State.||3||5-2|
|8||Florida||Kyle Trask passed his first test as starter, throwing for 293 yards and two touchdowns against what used to be Tennessee. Towson is next before we decide who these Gators are for the rest of the season. Next four games: Auburn, LSU, South Carolina, Georgia.||1||7-1|
|9||Wisconsin||Paul Chryst might be the most anonymous coach in the Power Five, but he had the perfect game plan against Michigan: gut the Wolverines with Jonathan Taylor and pressure Shea Patterson. The 21-point win for Wisconsin is its second-largest in the series surpassed only by a 22-point win over Michigan in 1962.||3||6-1|
|10||Auburn||You can see the glee on Gus Malzahn's face now that he's calling plays again. The Auburn coach has been responsible offensively for wins vs Oregon and Saturday at Texas A&M. At least.||3||6-1|
|11||Notre Dame||ND decided it couldn't run the ball against Georgia. Ian Book threw a career-high 47 times. Despite all that, the Irish were driving for the winning touchdown in the final seconds before the largest Sanford Stadium crowd in history. You bet your ass the Irish belong in the College Football Playoff conversation.||3||5-1|
|12||Oregon||Stanford put up a surprisingly strong fight in a 21-6 loss. Oregon has held three straight opponents without a touchdown. The Ducks had lost 15 of their last 20 away from Autzen Stadium. Justin Herbert threw a touchdown pass (three, as a matter of fact) for the 32nd straight game.||3||6-1|
|13||Boise State||Welcome, Broncos. You are the new favorite to grab the Group of Five New Year's Six bid. UCF lost. Meanwhile, Boise moved to 4-0 with a gutty 30-19 win over Air Force on Friday. Don't come at me with schedule strength. The Broncos next seven opponents have a combined .625 winning percentage.||1||6-1|
|14||California||Wait, sketchy game management by Pac-12 officials? Hard to believe! Ole Miss is still carping about what they thought was a late touchdown that was denied and wasn't reviewed. Meanwhile, Cal is the Pac-12's only undefeated team.||6||4-3|
|15||USC||It's so Pac-12 of the Trojans to upset Utah, perhaps the league's best playoff hope. Third-stringer Matt Fink proved that quarterbacks really do grow on trees in Southern California.||NR||4-3|
|16||Utah||The Utes are physical, defensive-minded. But there is a giant hole in an offense that isn't dynamic, meaning that it isn't good at coming from behind. Utah never led in a 30-23 upset loss to USC.||5||6-1|
|17||UCF||What a run the Knights have been on, 28-2 in their last 30. They were on the verge of knocking off their second consecutive Power Five opponent when Pittsburgh rallied late to win 35-34. Is UCF still the best Group of Five team?||1||5-2|
|18||Washington||The stain of that one-point loss to Cal simply isn't one anymore. Since that result, the Huskies have beaten Hawaii and BYU by a combined 97-39. Jacob Eason threw three touchdowns and four incompletions against the Cougars.||NR||5-3|
|19||Washington State||Anthony Gordon threw a school-record nine touchdown passes and lost. The 67-63 result has to be one of the worst in Mike Leach's career considering Wazzu led UCLA by 32 at one point. The loss highlights what the Cougars are -- high-scoring (709 yards) and low resistance (651 yards by UCLA).||2||4-3|
|20||Michigan||Holes everywhere. The defense got pushed around. The offense doesn't have many playmakers. A tough schedule still to go. The worst thing? Three games in, it looks like Michigan has regressed in a season it was expected to win the Big Ten.||11||5-2|
|21||Penn State||Bye. A Friday night trip to Maryland won't please many high school teams in Pennsylvania, but it will be another gauge on the Nits Big Ten East chances.||3||7-0|
|22||Iowa||Bye. A mysterious, weird, contentious feud with the Iowa State band continues. Officials are investigating claims of abuse by Iowa State fans. Football-wise, we'll next catch up to the Hawkeyes in an Oct. 5 game vs Michigan. Middle Tennessee State this week.||--||5-2|
|23||Kansas State||Bye. Chris Klieman is an early national coach of the year candidate. The undefeated Wildcats open Big 12 play this week at Oklahoma State.||--||4-2|
|24||Memphis||Bye. Tigers open AAC play this against Navy. Memphis is still a New Year's Six contender especially now that UCF has lost. Enhancing the Tigers' chances: The teams don't play each other.||--||6-1|
|25||Virginia||Someone is going to have to fill me on why Old Dominion continues to be so annoying. Last year, it was Virginia Tech. On Saturday, the Monarchs jumped out to a 17-0 lead before the Cavaliers rallied for a 28-17 win.||--||5-2|
Out: Texas A&M, BYU
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