So much for chalk.
No. 3 Alabama beat No. 1 Georgia 41-24 in the SEC championship game, not only upending the Bulldogs but also the College Football Playoff rankings. With that victory — the second upset of the day — the selection committee faces a slightly more difficult task with its top four teams.
MORE: 10 College Football Playoff scenarios, from chalk to complete two-loss chaos
One thing that’s certain: Alabama should reclaim its spot as the No. 1 team in the country. And Bryce Young (26 of 44 passing, 421 yards, three touchdowns, 40 rushing yards, one score) may very well have earned the nation’s Heisman Trophy vote. If his 97-yard drive against Auburn wasn’t his Heisman moment, then this performance against the nation’s top defense most certainly was.
But what does this loss by Georgia mean for the rest of college football at large? Sporting News breaks down what this outcome means for the likes of Notre Dame, Cincinnati and more:
Rankings reflect Week 14 College Football Playoff top 25
MORE: Notre Dame CFP scenarios: Can Fighting Irish make playoff with Cincinnati loss?
Previous rank: 2
Michigan’s 42-13 win over No. 13 Iowa in the Big Ten championship has guaranteed the Wolverines make the playoff for the first time under Jim Harbaugh. The question now becomes whether its win was impressive enough against a ranked team to warrant moving up a spot to No. 1. That’s unlikely, considering how thoroughly Alabama beat the top-ranked team in the nation. The next question, then: Does Michigan face No. 3 Georgia in the semifinal, or No. 3 Cincinnati?
Previous rank: 3
What a difference a week makes. The Crimson Tide, a week after surviving 6-6 Auburn off a last-minute drive, headed to Atlanta and throttled the consensus No. 1 team in the country. That can only result in one thing: Alabama will be the No. 1 team in the country in the final playoff rankings. The question again is whether it faces Georgia, Cincinnati or some other team in the semifinal.
Previous rank: 4
The wait should finally be over for the Group of 5. Cincinnati, the only remaining undefeated team in the FBS. The Bearcats did everything in their power to cement their playoff status with a 35-20 over 11-2 Houston. Considering the Bearcats were the No. 4 team heading into the final week of play — and Notre Dame’s idle status and No. 5 Oklahoma State’s loss — the Bearcats should be in. The only question is whether at No. 3 or 4. It’s a historic moment for Cincinnati, the Group of 5 and college football in general.
MORE: College football rankings: What Oklahoma State’s loss to Baylor means for Alabama, Notre Dame and more
Notre Dame (11-1)
Previous rank: 6
Notre Dame needed an upset during conference championship weekend to have a shot at the playoff. The Fighting Irish got it when the Cowboys lost to No. 9 Baylor in the Big 12 championship game. But the one thing that could not happen — an Alabama victory over Georgia — did, in fact, happen. With their victory in Atlanta, Alabama has likely placed two SEC teams among the top four. Cincy’s a lock considering its win. With Michigan’s win, there’s nowhere for Notre Dame to move up. They will remain, at best, the first team out of the playoff.
Previous rank: 9
Baylor looked as if it had a chance to sneak into the playoff following its upset of No. 5 Oklahoma State. But the win by Alabama has likely ended any chance the Bears have of making the playoff, barring a Michigan loss. The Bears should be pleased with the way they ended their season, but they’ll likely have to settle for a New Year’s Day 6 berth after losing to a 3-6 TCU team in Week 10.
Previous rank: 13
Iowa had a small chance to make the playoff following Oklahoma State’s loss, but the defeat to Michigan in the Big Ten championship ends any chance it has to make the playoff.
Previous rank: 1
The bad news is that Georgia has lost its first game of the season and will not win the SEC championship. The good news is that Georgia has been so good all season that the Bulldogs are still considered a lock to make the playoff, even after their defeat. The defense had a bad performance, but you can’t discount a unit that entering Saturday’s game ranked first in total defense (230.4 yards per game) second in passing defense (151.5 yards per game) third in passing defense (78.9 yards per game) and first in points per game (an absurd 6.9 points per game). There’s work to be done, but the Bulldogs have earned a shot at another crack at the championship.