What Georgia’s large win, SEC chaos imply for Ohio State and Michigan

Shortly after the clock reached zero on the conclusion of final yr’s Orange Bowl, a photograph started circulating by the Michigan sector of Twitter. The image captured broad receiver Andrel Anthony, quarterback J.J. McCarthy and working again Donovan Edwards — all of whom have been freshmen through the 2021 season — watching Georgia have fun its lopsided beatdown of the Wolverines to succeed in the nationwide title sport.

Coupled with a postgame assurance from tailback Blake Corum that Michigan would return to the School Soccer Playoff in 2022, that picture turned synonymous with this system’s renaissance below once-maligned head coach Jim Harbaugh — a visible embodiment of how badly the Wolverines needed to claw their method again to nationwide relevance after successful greater than 10 video games in a season simply as soon as since Lloyd Carr retired. If final season served as Michigan’s long-awaited breakthrough below Harbaugh, then this season has been about proving it wasn’t a fluke.

However any path Harbaugh has towards capturing his faculty’s first nationwide championship since 1997 appears destined to incorporate a rematch with Georgia, whose complete 27-13 win over Tennessee on Saturday recertified head coach Kirby Sensible’s group as each one of the best in school soccer and the odds-on favourite to hoist a trophy come January. Ohio State is the one different Huge Ten group with an opportunity to succeed in the playoff after Illinois was upended by Michigan State this weekend, and the Buckeyes can be requested to bypass the identical eye-widening, Bulldog-shaped roadblock in the event that they end undefeated.

Stetson Bennett drives Georgia to TD

Stetson Bennett drives Georgia to TD

Stetson Bennett led Georgia down the sector for a landing and a 21-3 lead over Tennessee.

So let’s discover what Georgia’s win means for the playoff image.

The place does this go away the SEC

Along with lending some readability to the School Soccer Playoff rankings, Saturday’s showdown between Georgia and Tennessee was virtually actually an elimination sport within the SEC East given each colleges are in the identical division. The Bulldogs improved to 9-0 general and 6-0 within the convention, whereas the Volunteers fell to 8-1 general and 4-1 within the league.

Georgia can be favored in every of its remaining video games towards Mississippi State (street), Kentucky (street) and Georgia Tech (house) with an expectation to complete the common season undefeated for the second consecutive season. Advancing to the SEC Championship Recreation with an unblemished report all however assures the Bulldogs of a spot within the playoff no matter what occurs on Dec. 3 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

Tennessee’s remaining schedule contains three groups who entered the weekend unranked in Missouri (house), South Carolina (street) and Vanderbilt (street). As with the Bulldogs, who’re anticipated to vault to No. 1 within the forthcoming CFP rankings, the Volunteers have a powerful likelihood of successful out to complete the common season 11-1 and provides themselves an opportunity to succeed in the playoff — relying on how the committee views Saturday’s loss. 

Throughout the convention, LSU controls the SEC West race after beating Alabama on Saturday night time. The Tigers (7-2, 5-1 SEC) already maintain the tiebreaker over Ole Miss courtesy of a 45-20 win over the Rebels final month. Head coach Brian Kelly’s group can earn a visit to Atlanta with three extra wins to shut the common season, and a victory within the SEC Championship Recreation might go away the convention with three official contenders: 12-1 Georgia, 11-1 Tennessee and 11-2 LSU.

LSU followers rush Tiger Stadium after win over No. 6 Alabama

LSU fans rush Tiger Stadium after win over No. 6 Alabama

Jayden Daniels’ clutch two-point conversion move lifted No. 10 LSU to a 32-31 victory towards the Crimson Tide.

What outcomes are doable within the Huge Ten?

A shocking house loss to embattled Michigan State on Saturday extinguished No. 16 Illinois’ slim likelihood of reaching the playoff after a fairytale begin to the season below second-year head coach Bret Bielema.

However the Illini nonetheless management their very own future within the topsy-turvy Huge Ten West, the place a 3-2 convention report locations them a sport forward of Wisconsin, Purdue, Iowa and Minnesota — all of whom are tied at 3-3 in league play. One other season of uneven performances means whichever group wins the West can do little greater than play the function of spoiler within the league’s title sport on Dec. 3.

The identical can’t be mentioned for the Huge Ten East, the place both Ohio State or Michigan will advance to Indianapolis undefeated barring an sudden slip-up between now and their extremely anticipated matchup in Columbus later this month. The winner of that sport ought to be a large favourite over whichever problem the Huge Ten West places forth, and can count on to succeed in the CFP unscathed. The loser would possible finish the common season 11-1 and harbor some uncertainty over its playoff candidacy in comparison with groups from different conferences with equivalent data.

There’s additionally a situation the place the winner of Ohio State-Michigan suffers an upset within the Huge Ten title sport to provide a pair of 11-1 finishers. That is when the league’s lack of top-end expertise this season could possibly be used towards the Buckeyes and Wolverines. 

How would a one-loss Huge Ten group examine to a one-loss SEC group?

That is the place issues get dicey for Michigan, whose Charmin-soft non-conference schedule was the first purpose the Wolverines sat outdoors the highest 4 within the preliminary CFP rankings final week. Blowout wins over Colorado State (51-7), Hawaii (56-10) and UConn (59-0) — all three of which have first-year head coaches — did little to impress the choice committee.

If the standard of opponents turns into an essential issue for untangling a cluster of groups with 11-1 data, the Wolverines may discover themselves in an uncomfortable place. Professional Soccer Focus charges Michigan’s power of schedule 83rd nationally and twenty second out of 23 Energy 5 groups within the preliminary CFP rankings. Amongst contenders, solely Clemson, whose power of schedule ranks 87th nationally, can have performed a worse slate than Harbaugh’s group — and the Tigers have been blasted by Notre Dame on Saturday.

This criterion is rather more amenable to the Buckeyes, whose season-opening win over Notre Dame trumps something the Wolverines have on their non-conference résumé. Ohio State’s power of schedule ranks twenty fourth nationally and compares favorably with the handful of well-regarded groups from the SEC: LSU at 44, Georgia at 42 and Tennessee at 19.

These sorts of perennially troublesome schedules are why the choice committee adores the SEC. 

Michael Cohen covers school soccer and basketball for FOX Sports activities with an emphasis on the Huge Ten. Comply with him on Twitter at @Michael_Cohen13

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