Massey-Peabody ranks Georgia second overall, but third on odds to reach the CFP. Still, the Dawgs are in with the in crowd.
The separation continues. This year’s “Big 5” college football teams — Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, Clemson and Oklahoma — all scored solid wins to advance their playoff chances, while multiple contenders in the next tier of contenders took losses. Four of the Big 5 are more likely to make the playoff than not, and even the least likely of them (Oklahoma) is a more than twice as likely to make it as the next team (Penn State).
It’s not that these five teams are that much better than the rest. Well, some of them are — we currently make Alabama an absurd two-touchdown favorite when hosting Auburn (which we rank as the sixth-best team) at the end of the season. No, the playoff lead for the Big 5 is because of how good they are and whom they have to play. The weakest of the elite, Clemson and Oklahoma, have the least conference competition — they should both be favored by at least 6.5 points in every remaining regular season game. Meantime, the next-best teams in our rankings — Auburn, Michigan and Penn State — still have multiple games against Top 10 teams.
That would seem to indicate there’s little margin for error among those five. Unfortunately for Georgia, Alabama is in that margin.
The Tide are back on top of our rankings and, for the second time in three weeks, have jumped a full field goal ahead of the pack. We give them a 56 percent chance to run the regular-season table, an 80 percent chance to win the toughest division in college football, a 72 percent chance to make the playoff and a 33 percent chance to win their third title in four years. Forget the Big 5 teams: If Alabama continues on this pace, we’ll soon be writing about the Big 1.
By the way, we’ve all taken note of Tennessee’s rugged mid-season five-game stretch, but LSU’s got a shorter run that’s brutal in its own right: “In a fascinating midseason stretch, LSU will host Georgia, Mississippi State and Alabama in consecutive games.” At least they’re all home games, but, still…