There will be a new team at No. 1 in Tuesday’s College Football Playoff rankings.
No. 10 Auburn dominated No. 1 Georgia 40-17 on Saturday, knocking the Bulldogs from the ranks of the unbeaten. And, more importantly for the Tigers, setting up a winner-take-all showdown with No. 2 Alabama in two weeks for the SEC West and a potential rematch with the Bulldogs for the SEC Championship.
The Tigers carried a 16-7 lead into halftime and jumped out to a 30-7 lead in the third quarter thanks to some Georgia mistakes. Auburn turned a fumbled punt by Georgia’s Mecole Hardman into a 16-point lead and scored again two plays after getting the ball back from Georgia when Ryan Davis took a short pass 32 yards to the end zone.
While running back Nick Chubb moved to fourth all-time among SEC RBs in career rushing yards, there were few other positives for Georgia. Its run game, one of the best in the country all season, was nonexistent on Saturday.
Georgia officially had 32 carries for 46 yards.
The rushing attack has kept pressure off freshman quarterback Jake Fromm all season. Saturday, Fromm didn’t have any time to throw and missed a couple of golden opportunities to connect with his receivers on blown coverages.
The first time he simply missed his receiver, Javon Wims, who was streaking toward the end zone. The second time was a flea flicker. While multiple Georgia receivers were open down the field, Fromm was swallowed up by Auburn’s defensive front before he had a chance to get rid of the football.
Fromm finished 13-28 passing for 184 yards.
Auburn’s offense, meanwhile, gashed Georgia’s defense. Running back Kerryon Johnson had 32 carries for 167 yards and QB Jarrett Stidham was 16-24 for 214 yards and three touchdowns.
The Tigers, 8-2, face Louisiana-Monroe next week before taking on the Crimson Tide. An Auburn win in the Iron Bowl sets up an intriguing first for the College Football Playoff committee heading into championship weekend.
No team has made the playoff with two losses. It would be nearly impossible to leave out a two-loss Auburn with two wins over Georgia and a win over Alabama. But we’ll worry about that later. There are still two steps to go in that scenario.
While the Tigers will move up toward the top six on Tuesday, we’re fascinated to see how far Georgia falls. The Bulldogs have been No. 1 in the first two rankings because of their strength of schedule. How will that schedule look when stacked up against the likes of a one-loss team from the Big 12 and undefeated teams like Wisconsin and potentially Miami?
Georgia’s hopes of making the playoff are still alive. If the Bulldogs win out, a playoff spot is still theirs for the taking. But after Saturday, it’s harder to envision a Georgia win over its SEC West opponent in the conference title game.
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• No. 13 Ohio State scores blowout win over No. 12 Michigan State