Posted on November 7, 2017, by Travis Pulver
The one thing we have yet to see under the CFB Playoff system is a two-loss team making it into the Final Four. While it’s a longshot, there is a chance one team could make it happen this year. Who’s that one team? None other than the Auburn Tigers.
Their losses came in close games against quality teams, Clemson and LSU. Losing is never a good thing, but losing to good teams plays better with the Committee. But two losses are typically a CFB Playoff-killer no matter who a team lost to. So, what makes Auburn different?
With Ohio State, Penn State, Oklahoma State, and Virginia Tech losing last week, Auburn could be as high as No. 10 in the next poll. Of the three teams they have left, they play No. 1 Georgia this week and end the regular season against No. 2 Alabama in the Iron Bowl.
Should they pull off the upset and beat Georgia this week, Auburn could easily move as high as No. 5 in the next poll. A win of that caliber would warrant pushing other teams out of the way. If they can follow it up with a win over Alabama after that?
Such an accomplishment would make them worthy of a spot in the top four.
Of course, they would likely have to beat Georgia again in the SEC Championship Game to remain in the top four. But if they can do it once…which is what they have to do first for the rest of the theory to hold any water….
So—when Auburn and Georgia play this weekend at Jordan-Hare Stadium, who’s going to win?
It would be easy just to say the undefeated Bulldogs and No. 1 team in the country will beat the two-loss Tigers, and it wouldn’t be hard to figure out why. The Bulldogs have one of the best rushing attacks in the country (No. 8; 279.3 yards/game) powered by the talented duo of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel.
When they need to pass, they can. Freshman Jake Fromm has done an admirable job this season completing 63.3 percent of his passes for 1459 yards, 15 touchdowns, and four interceptions. He has one 300+ yard game under his belt. But in seven of his nine games, he has less than 200.
But he will not throw a lot because they don’t need him to. Georgia will do like it does every week and lean on their running game and defense (No. 4; 254.1 yards/ game allowed). While many of the top units tend to excel at one aspect of the game, they dominate against the run (No. 5; 89 yards/game allowed) and the pass (No. 7; 165.1 yards/game allowed).
Teams are only averaging 11.7 points/game against the Bulldogs.
While it is not hard to imagine the Bulldogs dominating the game, Auburn isn’t half bad. They proved against Mississippi State, and Texas A&M their defense can handle a run-heavy team. But the more significant concern for them is going to be scoring points.
You could look at the Clemson game and say they can’t do it. But that was only the second game for new starting quarterback Jarrett Stidham. However, Stidham is much better at this point in the season. Kerryon Johnson and Kam Martin power a running game that could give the Georgia defense a run for its money.
The oddsmakers have made Georgia just a 2.5-point favorite, so it is safe to say the game is expected to be a close one. While it would be awesome to see Auburn try and become the first two-loss team in the playoffs, they aren’t going to get the win that matters most—this one.
It will be a close game at the half, but in the second half, Chubb and Michel will start breaking off bigger and bigger runs. In the end, Bulldogs win by 10.