By: JJ Lanier
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
The first scenario that has Georgia making it to the college playoffs is pretty straightforward- beat LSU in the SEC Championship game and you’re in. Nothing very complicated about it, except for, you know, the fact they have to beat LSU.
What’s more intriguing to me is whether or not there’s a scenario where Georgia could still make the playoffs, even if they lose to the Tigers; something I assume most Georgia fans have already begun contemplating.
To start with, let’s go ahead and assume Ohio State, Clemson, and LSU all win their respective title games and are in. That leaves the winner of the Big-12 matchup (Oklahoma or Baylor) and possibly the winner of the Pac-12 (Utah or Oregon) that the Bulldogs would have to contend with for the final spot.
I’m going to just skim right over Oklahoma and Oregon because if they Sooners win, they’re in. And if Oregon happens to win, I think they would end up behind either Big-12 winner and Georgia since they’ll have two losses and the Pac-12 is basically regarded as an inferior spin-off of a better conference.
Where it gets interesting is if both Baylor and Utah win. The argument for putting Georgia in ahead of either of those two teams begins and ends with one thing; name recognition.
As much as the NCAA wants us to believe the committee is choosing the four most deserving teams, they’re not. What they’re looking for are the four biggest named teams ($$$) that they can realistically justify putting in the playoffs. I mean, how else do you explain their love affair with Alabama and their FCS looking schedule?
The committee will play their part and acknowledge that Georgia will ultimately have one more loss than either Baylor or Utah, but then I imagine they’ll argue Georgia comes from a tougher conference (they do), had a better overall season (debatable, especially considering the South Carolina loss), and that the Dawgs pass everyone’s favorite metric, the eye test (probably true), as reasons as to why the Bulldogs made the cut ahead of the other two.
When the teams were announced for the college playoffs inaugural season in 2014, there was a large contingent of fans arguing Ohio State only made the playoffs, not on their merits, but because of their national recognition. It would be no different this year; Ohio State vs. Georgia is much more appealing on paper than OSU vs. Baylor/Utah. (By the way, I went ahead and put Ohio State as the overall #1 seed because if this scenario actually plays out, just watch the committee place Ohio State ahead of LSU. But, remember, this whole thing is purely objective and nothing is based on matchu…….hahaha, I can’t even finish typing it out.)
Look, I’m not promising this is what will happen, or even that it’s what should happen, I’m just so skeptical when it comes almost everything the NCAA touches, that I almost expect that’s the way things will turn out. After all, it’s a business, and Georgia is better business.
Of course, this all changes if UGA gets steamrolled by LSU, or best-case scenario for Bulldog fans, they happen to win Saturday.
That said, if the latter takes place, and Oklahoma winds up winning the Big-12, it may bring up an even more interesting question- what does the committee do with LSU?
Either way, don’t be shocked if a one-loss Baylor or Utah team is on the outside looking in. I know the NCAA won’t be.