Should Georgia be considered a Dark-Horse Playoff Contender?

Since college football changed its playoff format to a four-team playoff, there has been one certainty that has gone with it: Alabama. The Tide made the playoff each of the previous three seasons, bringing home one national title and coming within seconds of obtaining another. Their dominance has made it so that college football fans write off every other SEC team before the season even begins.

However, this year it appears as though another SEC team may finally be ready to give Nick Saban’s boys a run for their money: the Georgia Bulldogs. Under the guise of head coach Kirby Smart (who was Saban’s defensive coordinator at Alabama), the Bulldogs are off to a blazing 4-0 start that includes a win in South Bend and a thrashing of Mississippi State at home last weekend. Now ranked seventh in the country, they look like as good a team as any in recent memory to have a fighting chance against Alabama.

Georgia is led by running back Nick Chubb, who has 371 rushing yards and six touchdowns on the young season. The team averages more rushing yards per game (223) than they do passing (166), but QB Jake Fromm has done a fine job at replacing the injured Jacob Eason, throwing for 650 yards and 7 TDs to only one interception. Additionally, they bolster an athletic defense capable of making big plays, led by senior linebacker Lorenzo Carter.

In addition to the wealth of talent on the roster, the Bulldogs don’t have an overly taxing schedule for the remainder of this season. As things stand now, they only have two remaining games against ranked opponents: home versus 21. Florida on October 28th, and at 13. Auburn November 13th. The Florida game is a particularly important one, as that is really their only threat to losing the SEC East. The other five members of that division – Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and Missouri – don’t appear to pose legitimate threats to their divisional supremacy.

In summary: 1) Georgia has a good coach and an extremely talented roster; 2) they have a relatively fair schedule going forward; and 3) the division doesn’t pose a major threat to their success. If they win the division and go into the SEC Championship to (presumably) face Alabama with one loss or less, can we really discount them as potential national title contenders? If they pull off that upset, should they not be considered locks to make the playoff? Only time will tell, but no one should count Georgia out as potential threats to win it all this season.

All stats courtesy ESPN.

Cover photo courtesy acj.com.

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