Mark Bradley

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Update: Georgia is No. 1 in the ranking that matters most

Georgia is No. 1 in the only poll, not now but eventually, that will count. That tell us something about Georgia. It also tells us something about the College Football Playoff committee: These folks do watch games.

It takes a lot not to put Alabama at the top of everything. I know. I picked Clemson to lose January's championship game in large part because I couldn't imagine Alabama losing. But lose Bama did, albeit on Deshaun Watson's touchdown pass to Hunter Renfrow at 0:01.

In this week's Associated Press poll, journalists gave Alabama 59 of 61 first-place votes. In this week's coaches' poll, Alabama received all 65 first-place votes. Credit the committee for swimming against that, er, Crimson Tide. Those folks used their eyeballs and sifted through their data points and have, at least through two months of a season, declared Georgia the finest team in the land.

How did this happen? Right now, the committee goes mostly on strength of schedule. Down the road, it will put the greatest weight on winning a conference championship, but nobody can do that in October. Georgia has two victories over teams in the CFP Top 25 -- No. 3 Notre Dame and No. 16 Mississippi State. Alabama has none. (It will play Mississippi State, No. 19 LSU and No. 14 Auburn over the final month.)

"As passionate a debate as I've seen," committee chair Kirby Hocutt said of the UGA-Bama discussion. In the end, he said, "there was a very slight difference," which could well change next week if Bama beats LSU 50-3.

But to think: This time a year ago, the Bulldogs were 4-4, coming off consecutive losses to Vanderbilt (!!!) and Florida. Now they're No. 1. I'd call that progress.

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About the Author

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He has been with the AJC since 1984.