In a stunning turn of events, No. 8 Alabama Crimson Tide delivered a significant upset by defeating No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC Championship Game with a final score of 27-24. The unexpected victory not only halted Georgia's 29-game winning streak, tied for the third-longest in FBS history since 1973, but also sent shockwaves through the College Football Playoff (CFP) landscape, just a day before the four-team field was set to be announced.
Alabama football coach Nick Saban secured his third consecutive win over coach Kirby Smart in the SEC title game, further solidifying his dominance. The team's defense played a pivotal role, limiting the previously explosive Georgia football offense to their lowest point total of the season.
With this loss, Georgia football's chances of securing a third straight national championship appear to have dwindled. The Dawgs had displayed resilience during their 29-game streak, which came to an end in the face of a determined Crimson Tide football team.
The Alabama offense, led by quarterback Jalen Milroe, orchestrated a crucial nine-play, 75-yard touchdown drive in the closing minutes, establishing a 27-17 lead. Despite a shaky start for Milroe, who began 0-for-4 passing, he settled in and finished with two passing touchdowns for Alabama football against a Georgia defense that had rarely faced such dynamic quarterbacks during the regular season.
The SEC West continued its dominance in SEC Championship Games, boasting a 13-2 record over the last 15 seasons. Notably, this championship marked the final year of the SEC's divisional format.
Online reactions to the upset were swift and passionate, with football enthusiasts grappling to decipher the implications for the CFP picture.
Sam Phalen of AtoZ Sports Nashville tweeted, “The only right answer. #CFP: 1. Michigan 2. Washington 3. FSU 4. Texas. [Out of the playoffs will be] 5. Alabama 6. Georgia 7. Ohio State 8. Oregon. Sorry, SEC. Losses matter.”
Meanwhile, Troy Renck–host of the Broncos Podcast–expressed a firm stance on Alabama football's playoff prospects, stating, “Alabama upsets Georgia. They have four wins against top 25 teams, including the Bulldogs, who hadn't lost in two years. Bama is in the playoff, IMO. Not a question. Georgia can only get in with help, like Florida State or Michigan losing. #Denver7.”
Finally, Evan Lazar of the Patriots Catch-22 chimed in with his playoff predictions, saying, “Michigan (assuming they beat Iowa), Washington, Alabama, Texas. Wild that Georgia doesn’t make it, but those are the breaks in a four-team playoff. I’m not putting in FSU with a backup QB.”
As the college football world grapples with the aftermath of this unexpected upset, the only certainty is that the CFP selection committee faces a challenging task in determining the four teams that will compete for the national championship. The debate over rankings and potential scenarios is sure to intensify further in the coming days due to today's Alabama football victory.