GEORGIA, BAMA LOOK TO PROVE COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF RANKINGS ARE LEGIT
The first College Football Playoff Rankings are out and in case you missed it, Georgia and Alabama are ranked one and two, respectively. It’s the first time the top spots have ever gone to one conference in the initial rankings. Despite both teams being so highly regarded, the rest of the SEC is not. However, that doesn’t mean the Dawgs and Tide have a cakewalk the rest of the way before what many people expect to be the matchup in the SEC Championship Game.
For both teams to remain unbeaten until that time, there are some very tough tests ahead. Those tough tests start today with crucial SEC divisional contests vs South Carolina and LSU.
The intriguing part about the Dawgs and Tide facing the Gamecocks and Tigers is both games could play out quite similarly. Both South Carolina and LSU are really good defensively. The Bayou Bengals and Gamecocks place 28th and 30th in the nation, respectively in scoring defense at around 20 points per game. They both have respectable 6-2 records on the season. However, they both also have trouble scoring. South Carolina is 80th in the nation at 26.2 points per game, while LSU is a little better at 27.4 points, good for 74th nationally.
The similarities don’t stop there.
Both teams rely heavily on one guy to get things done offensively. Jake Bentley, the Gamecocks’ sophomore QB is doing quite well even in the absence of Deebo Samuel. South Carolina’s offense and kick return game hasn’t been the same without Samuel, who would be a Heisman candidate if not for the injury that cost him the rest of the season, but Bentley has kept the offense respectable. Meanwhile, the Tigers’ offense isn’t exactly dynamic, but Derrius Guice is. The running back from Baton Rouge is showing why many thought LSU wouldn’t miss much of a beat with Leonard Fournette moving on to the NFL. Keeping both offenses in check starts with keeping these two players in check.
But, there are still other questions…..
CAN GEORGIA HANDLE BEING NUMBER ONE?
Being number one in the rankings is new territory for the Georgia Bulldogs. It’s oftentimes not as easy for a team to perform at a top level when they’re all of a sudden the favorite. While, it’s not surprising that head coach Kirby Smart has the Dawgs playing well, it is somewhat surprising that the Dawgs are undefeated. A lot of that is due to the Bulldogs being that good. But, there’s no question that part of that is also the rest of the SEC being so uncharacteristically bad.
Georgia would definitely be looked at as an underdog when compared to Bama, and other teams around the nation like Clemson or Ohio State. It’s quite a bit harder to call Georgia an underdog now, despite their roster not being accustomed to such a lofty ranking. We’ll how they handle it.
IS BAMA BETTER OFF BEING NUMBER TWO……FOR NOW?
In Tuscaloosa, it’s all about the Tide not believing too much into the hype……or in the words of Nick Saban, taking in the ‘rat poison.’ That comical rant by Saban took the college football nation by storm, but the statement has a lot of merit. While, Bama is very good, this may not be the best Bama team we’ve seen in the Saban era. That debate won’t be settled until they win or don’t win the national title. That being said, it just seems like it would be better for this team to not see their name with the number one next to it. That just might be that extra incentive for them not to take anything, including LSU, for granted.
The biggest question for Bama continues to be Jalen Hurts and the Tide’s passing attack. Hurts, is definitely improving, but there are still instances where Bama’s offense stalls a little too much. That’s insane to say about a team that’s leading the SEC with an average of 43 points per game. Again, the SEC just ain’t quite what it has been in recent seasons. So, it’s left to wonder right now, is Bama this good or is the SEC that bad?
Only time will tell for Georgia and Bama in their pursuit for the SEC and National Championships. One thing is for certain. The road won’t be easy.