Top-ranked Georgia got rocked by Auburn, 40-17. The Bulldogs will likely fall out of the top four but have a chance to fight back in. Georgia finishes with Kentucky and Georgia Tech before an SEC Championship date with either Alabama or Auburn.
A non-conference road victory over Notre Dame is a beautiful feather in Georgia’s cap. And it may prove to be the trump card when all are out on the table. But even with an SEC crown, there may be some apprehension in Athens knowing this clunker is going to drag behind for the remainder of the season.
The three previous years of the playoff era have taught us that one loss isn’t fatal, even if it’s a lopsided one.
In 2014, Oregon made it in after a 7-point loss to Arizona and Alabama in after a 6-point loss to Ole Miss. Ohio State, the eventual national champion, survived a 14-point home stumble against Virginia Tech. In 2015, Michigan State made it after a 1-point loss to Nebraska and Oklahoma made it despite a 7-point loss to Texas.
Last year, Ohio State lost by three to Penn State, Clemson dropped a one-point game to Pitt, and Washington lost by 13 to USC. All three made it in.
This 23-point loss would be the biggest by a playoff team in this new era. Georgia would have a uniquely stellar body of work to overcome it. A one-loss Alabama, though, might consider sweating, as two SEC teams feels less realistic than it did this morning.