Georgia Tops Alabama in First College Football Playoff Rankings

Posted on: November 1, 2017, 04:00h. 

Last updated on: November 1, 2017, 04:59h.

The sportsbooks and pollsters preferred Alabama, but in the first college football playoff rankings Georgia was placed at the top spot. Both teams are undefeated, but flopped positions in Tuesday’s rankings.

college football playoff
Despite being the No. 2 team in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll Georgia leaped over No. 1 Alabama as the top pick in the College Football Playoff Rankings. (Image: USA Today Sports)

Alabama has been at No. 1 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll since the preseason and were also the first choice with oddsmakers. They began the year as the 3-1 favorite to win the National Championship and are now 2-3.

The two Southeastern Conference teams were followed by Notre Dame and Clemson, who was last year’s National Champion. The top four teams at the end of the season qualify for the playoff for the title.

Oklahoma and Ohio State are next and Penn State and TCU follow. Wisconsin and Miami, two of five remaining undefeated teams are ninth and 10th.

Bulldogs Surprise Voters

Georgia has shocked both fans and oddsmakers this season. Last year they struggled for a 500 record and before the season they were a 30-1 pick to win the national championship. They are now 12-1 and could go even lower if they finish undefeated.

Playoff committee chairman Kirby Hocutt said discussion on who should be tabbed No. 1 was intense. Many of the people wanted Alabama in the top spot and made their case for most of Tuesday.

“We spent considerable time yesterday talking about the differences between Georgia and Alabama,” he said. “We began this morning, we ended our day today with great debate — as passionate debate as I’ve seen.”

What tipped the scales in Georgia’s favor was their strength of schedule. They have played two teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 25. They defeated then-No. 24 Notre Dame on the road as a five-point underdog, 20-19. Two weeks later they were favored by 2 ½ points over then No. 17 Mississippi State and blew them out, 31-3.

Keeping the top spot might be very possible for the team. In their remaining four games they face only one ranked team, Auburn, who is currently ranked at No. 16 in the AP Top 25 and No. 14 in the College Football Playoff Rankings.

Alabama Lurking

The Crimson Tide is not out of the running for the best position and could easily claim No. 1 even if Georgia finishes undefeated. Alabama was penalized in the first vote because they haven’t played anyone so far this year that is in the top 25.

That will change this week when they host No. 19 LSU. They are 21 point favorites and a big margin of victory will impress voters. So far this season they have outscored eight opponents 344-78. They will also face Mississippi State and Auburn.

If the current rankings stay Alabama would play Notre Dame, who has been another surprising team. The Fighting Irish’s only loss was the heartbreaking one-point defeat to Georgia. That didn’t hurt them when the committee was discussing what position they should be placed at.

The one game that could knock them out of contention is in two weeks when they face Miami. The Hurricanes have not loss though their schedule has not been as difficult as Notre Dame’s.