Yes, your eyes do not deceive you, in the year of our Lord 2017, the Georgia Bulldogs sit atop the CFP rankings and have the first legitimate shot this late in the season at a National Title in recent memory.
Now, I know what you’re thinking and I agree, this is far too early to overreact and hand the CFP trophy over to the Bulldogs from Athens just yet, but with a #3 ranking in Strength of Record and a marquee victory over the current #3 team in the country, Notre Dame, the Dawgs are all but a lock to make the CFP.
It’s no secret that the SEC is down this year and the road to Atlanta is paved with the broken dreams of teams like Florida, Tennessee, and Mississippi State, all of which were crushed by Georgia thus far in the season. The one remaining regular season test appears to be Auburn, a team once thought to be a contender in the SEC West, but with losses to both Clemson and LSU, appear to be on the brink of another disappointing season.
If Georgia can make it through the remainder of their schedule unscathed, a matchup of epic proportions awaits them in the SEC Championship with a hungry Alabama Crimson Tide team, looking to make up for their last second loss in last year’s National Title game, out for blood. (I can only assume that Nick Saban hasn’t smiled one second in the last year). I’d go so far as to say that even if Georgia loses to the Tide, there’s a big chance that we’d have two SEC teams in the playoffs due to the committee’s history of valuing strength of schedule so heavily and looking down on early season losses much more than late season/conference championship losses.
We’ve all seen Georgia blow it when it matters, but this isn’t the team of old. Their defense is stout (3rd best in the country, what is it with 3’s and this post?), and the 10th best rushing attack led by Nick “How in the Hell is He Still Eligible” Chubb, prove to be the real difference makers for this team.
There’s still a lot of season left to play and Georgia could totally Georgia themselves, but I’ve got a good feeling we’ll be talking about this team well into the CFP Semifinals.