Georgia won’t be headed to the College Football Playoff.
As players tuned into the selection show, they saw Oklahoma’s name appear on the bracket in the No. 4 spot. Georgia fell to Alabama 35-28 in the SEC Championship and did not return to the College Football Playoff after being a No. 3 seed last season.
Quite ironically, against the team it beat in the semifinals last season after the Sooners avenged its lone loss in the Big 12 Championship on Saturday. The other teams advancing to the playoff are the Crimson Tide, No. 2 Clemson and No. 3 Notre Dame.
The Bulldogs (11-2, 7-2) will now face No. 14 Texas on January 1 at Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans for the Allstate Sugar Bowl. The Bulldogs dropped from No. 4 to No. 5 after squandering a 14-point lead to top-ranked Alabama in the SEC Championship.
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With Oklahoma making the playoff and the Big 12 having tie-ins to the Sugar Bowl, the Longhorns earned the bid as the second-place Big 12 team.
Georgia last appeared in the Allstate Sugar Bowl in 2008, when it was in contention for a BCS National Championship as a two-loss team. The Bulldogs beat Hawaii in a 41-10 no-contest. Despite falling short, the mentality might be the same.
“We’ll treat it just like a playoff game,” junior safety J.R. Reed said after the Alabama loss. “That’s all what we’re going to be thinking about.”
There were calls and plenty of lobbying, most notably by ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit, to include Georgia well into the early hours on Sunday. Alabama’s Nick Saban called Georgia “one of the best four teams in the country,” and said he didn’t want to play the Bulldogs again.
Kirby Smart echoed that sentiment in his postgame press conference, and was on ESPN’s airwaves until around 1 a.m. making the case for his team to be included.
“It boils down to one thing,” Smart said in his emotional plea. “Do you want the four best teams in or not? It’s that simple. … It’s not our decision. It’s their decision. But you’re going to put the four best football teams in.”
Georgia had three Top 25 wins (Florida, Kentucky and Missouri), but the 36-16 regular-season loss served as its detriment. According to Westgate LV Superbook, the Bulldogs would be favored over both Oklahoma and Ohio State on a neutral field. The Bulldogs, per the FPI, were the third-best team in the country, but a 20-point loss at LSU ultimately proved too much to overcome, at least in the eyes of the Playoff committee.