Georgia led Alabama by 14 points entering the fourth quarter of Saturday’s SEC Championship Game.
With Selection Sunday looming, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart was asked to make a case for his Bulldogs following their defeat to Alabama in the SEC championship game on Saturday.
Georgia led the Crimson Tide by 14 points entering the fourth quarter, and led for a majority of the contest before quarterback Jalen Hurts came off the bench to rally Nick Saban’s unit to a 35–28 victory. Smart seemed to feel that the Bulldogs’ performance was enough to validate why they should be in the conversation for the College Football Playoff field.
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“Well, it boils down to one thing,” Smart told reporters. “Do you want the four best teams in or not? It’s that simple. (Alabama) sat at home last year and got to go in the (College Football Playoff semifinals) while everbody else is beating each other up, and they had a good football team.
“Give that coach across the sideline a vote who he doesn’t want to play. He’ll start with us. I promise you, you don’t want to play us.”
Saban vouched for Georgia’s inclusion, echoing Smart’s sentiment.
“They are one of the four best teams in the country,” Saban told reporters. “I don’t want to play them again. That is the ultimate compliment I can give them.”
Last season, Georgia and Alabama were the last two teams standing before clashing in the College Football Playoff Final. The Crimson Tide needed overtime to come away victorious, and on Saturday had to recover from their greatest deficit of the season to win by one possession.
Georgia was fourth in the selection committee’s most recent rankings released earlier this week. However, its fate hangs in the balance following Saturday’s defeat, particularly after Oklahoma, which was ranked fifth, captured the Big 12 title this weekend.
“It’s not our decision,” Smart said. “It’s (the selection committee’s) decision. But you’re going to put the four best football teams in.”
The final College Football Playoff rankings will be released Sunday, Dec. 2, on ESPN’s CFB Rankings Show. The program is scheduled to air at noon ET.