UGA Football

Georgia’s case to be No. 1 in Tuesday’s playoff rankings

Dawgs stomp on Gators 42-7 in Jacksonville

Photo slide show as the Georgia Bulldogs kept their undefeated season alive by dismantling the Florida Gators 42-7 Saturday in Jacksonville.
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Photo slide show as the Georgia Bulldogs kept their undefeated season alive by dismantling the Florida Gators 42-7 Saturday in Jacksonville.

Georgia is No. 2 in both of the AP and coaches polls. But where will it fall in Tuesday’s first College Football Playoff rankings?

A 13-member committee will meet and decide on its first top-25, which really only serves as a guide until the final four are officially announced at the conclusion of all of the conference championships. It will be quite the surprise if Georgia doesn’t enter the first top-25 with a top-two spot along with Alabama.

But what about No. 1? Does Georgia have a realistic chance of sitting at the top of the first College Football Playoff rankings?

While there is no denying how dominant Alabama has been on both sides of the ball, it would appear the Bulldogs have the better schedule to date than the Crimson Tide. Alabama’s big non-conference win came against Florida State, which lost starting quarterback Deondre Francois for the season in that game.

While losing Francois has been a major blow to the Seminoles, he doesn’t play defense. And the Seminoles have allowed an average of 24.3 points per game, which includes a 35-3 loss to Boston College this past Saturday.

In fact, Alabama has yet to play a team currently ranked in the AP top 25. The Crimson Tide’s resume, however, figures to be boosted with upcoming games against No. 19 LSU, No. 21 Mississippi State and No. 16 Auburn.

Georgia, conversely, has a 20-19 victory over No. 5 Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. The Bulldogs also have a 31-3 win over Mississippi State.

Then again, the eye test makes it hard to place Alabama anywhere other than No. 1. The Crimson Tide have dominated each game they have played and hold an average margin of victory of 33.3 points. Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason, whose team played both Alabama and Georgia, was recently asked who he thought the better team was.

Mason said Alabama got the nod in his estimation, with the edge due to its defensive backfield.

"It’s a potent secondary that’s got corners and safeties who are lock-down guys," Mason said. "You got four of those guys back there who may see NFL rosters at some point in time. That’s what makes the difference. In this game, not just the ability for your corners to lock down, but the ability of your safeties to cover sideline to sideline and fit the box, and really show range in deep defense. That’s exactly who they are. Alabama is just a purely dominant defense right now."

Both programs are comparable in the national rankings on defense. Alabama is No. 1 in scoring defense at 9.8 points per game while Georgia is No. 3 at 11.9.

Alabama is No. 1 in total defense at 236 yards per game while Georgia is No. 3 at 252.1. Alabama (66.4) is also No. 1 in rush defense with Georgia (94.8) checking in at No. 6. Georgia (157.4) is No. 3 in pass defense with Alabama (169.6) at No. 10.

Of the five remaining undefeated teams, Alabama and Georgia have shown to be a notch above the rest. The College Football Playoff selection committee will decide how the two teams compare with one another in its first rankings.