Georgia at Tennessee among ESPN’s games that will impact the CFP

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 05 Tennessee at Georgia

Georgia is attempting to do something that’s never been done before in the modern era — win three national titles in a row.

Complacency is the devil when programs get to the top of the mountain, but the Bulldogs have everything working for them this season. The schedule is as favorable as any in the country. It’s not like it’s their fault; Georgia was forced to cancel their matchup with Oklahoma ahead of the Sooners joining the SEC, but let’s be serious, it would’ve looked similar to the Dawgs drumming of Oregon in last year’s opener.

Georgia’s path to the CFP is straightforward. Even if they make it to Atlanta and lose, they’ll likely be a one-loss team and still get a bid to the playoffs. However, there is one potential hurdle — Tennessee.

It’s the only game I look at that Georgia could potentially lose. Neyland Stadium will be rocking, and the Volunteers will be hungry to get their revenge. It could have College Football Playoff implications, according to ESPN.

Why it will matter to the committee: This could eliminate one team if the game determines the winner of the SEC East — or it could change the three-peat narrative in the SEC and catapult the Vols into the top four if they’re not there already. If Georgia doesn’t beat Tennessee and doesn’t play for the SEC title, it’s going to be difficult for the selection committee to justify a top-four finish — unless it’s a close loss and Georgia has won every other game so easily that those in the room agree the Dawgs are “unequivocally” one of the four best teams in the country.

That’s going to be difficult, though, because Georgia’s nonconference schedule includes UT Martin, Ball State, UAB and Georgia Tech. The entire East division could be eliminated if Tennessee beats Georgia but loses at Alabama on Oct. 21 and again in the SEC championship game.

This is about the only game that could impact the CFP on Georgia’s schedule because it’s about the only one they could potentially lose. I still think the Dawgs go in as two score favorites, but to completely write off Josh Heupel would be naive. His offense is legit; whether a change of scenery is the difference for Joe Milton is something else entirely. Underestimating any program in the Southeastern Conference would be a mistake. Thankfully, Kirby Smart’s team isn’t susceptible to that.

Photographer: Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire


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