Georgia drops to No. 7 in new playoff rankings


Georgia, ranked No. 1 by the College Football Playoff selection committee the past two weeks, fell to No. 7 in the latest rankings released Tuesday night. 

The drop reflected the Bulldogs’ 40-17 defeat at Auburn, their first loss of the season.

Undefeated Alabama, previously second in the CFP rankings, replaced Georgia at No. 1.

The selection committee ranked Clemson No. 2, Miami No. 3, Oklahoma No. 4, Wisconsin No. 5 and Auburn No. 6. 

Notre Dame, which lost badly to Miami last week, fell to No. 8, one spot behind Georgia. Ohio State and Penn State were ranked Nos. 9 and 10, respectively.

Despite Tuesday’s drop, Georgia remains in the running for a berth in the four-team playoff.  Those chances hinge on the Bulldogs winning their remaining regular-season games against Kentucky and Georgia Tech, then beating Alabama or Auburn in the SEC Championship game at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Dec. 2. 

There was considerable shuffling throughout the rankings Tuesday after a weekend in which four of last week’s top nine teams lost.

Miami, led by former Georgia coach Mark Richt, made a large upward move, climbing from No. 7 to No. 3 on the strength of a 41-8 rout of Notre Dame.

Kirby Hocutt, chairman of the selection committee, said there was “tremendous debate” about which ACC team -- once-beaten  Clemson or unbeaten Miami -- to rank No. 2.

“Clemson's season-long body of work, including a win over Auburn and road wins against two other ranked teams, earned the No. 2 ranking,” he said on a conference call with reporters Tuesday night.

Georgia’s No. 7 ranking matches the Bulldogs’ position in this week’s Associated Press and coaches’ polls. But the playoff committee apparently found little difference between the Bulldogs and the four teams directly behind them -- Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State and No. 11 USC.

“When we got into discussions on teams, I would say, 7 through 11, there was not a lot of separation,” Hocutt said. “There was a lot of conversation, discussion, about that particular order. You know, not far away from being a spot or two higher and not too far away from being a spot or two lower, either.”

The 13-member committee will re-rank teams each week through Dec. 3, when it will place the top four in the national semifinals, which this season will be played in the Rose and Sugar bowls on New Year’s Day. 

The semifinal winners will meet for the national championship at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Jan. 8. 


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