Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel, and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde and Ross Dellenger discuss Tennessee’s loss to Georgia on Saturday, and debate if the Volunteers still have a shot at making the College Football Playoff field.
DAN WETZEL: Here we are with Georgia, that doesn't look like anyone's going to beat him. Now Pat you were over there, they controlled-- came out the gate against Tennessee, dominated them early. I think what we said last week like best gift Kirby Smart could have had this week was saying, hey, they don't even think-- guys win eight straight games, and they don't think you're number one. After winning the title, who are these Tennessee guys? They did blitz them early. What was the scene like in Sanford Stadium, and your ear is still hurting.
PAT FORDE: Yes they are. Open air press box there, which is phenomenal, and it was painful, literally painful listening to the crowd at times, especially like in the third quarter when they were just whipping up a frenzy, and just flying in on blitzes at poor Hendon Hooker. And here's what I was thinking again about what we have talked about, about the best teams wanting to have quarterfinals at home in the playoffs. Not just comfort and getting recruits in there, but literal home field advantage. Seven pre-snap penalties on Tennessee, and not only that, when they weren't full starting, they were slower off the snap, and so they're getting beat in pass protection. And Kirby Smart made that point the point 2/10 of a second that you get can matter.
So I mean real tangible reasons you can win a game at home and probably would rather play a game at home if you're a good team in a playoff setting as opposed to a more artificial setting. Anyway long story short totally dominant performance, by far the best team in the country right now, right? I mean, I don't think there's a whole lot of arguing that. What do you think of Tennessee's chances here? They got beat soundly in this game it was not as close as the score. What is Tennessee's-- It's great season, great momentum, awesome for Josh Heupel if they end up 11 to 1, phenomenal season, but can they get in again, and can they get a rematch with Georgia? Which is where they would probably be the four.
ROSS DELLENGER: If you look at how it could line up, I mean, they probably need-- well, probably-- they need Georgia to beat LSU in the championship game, and if Georgia beats LSU, especially if Georgia beats LSU handily and pulls away as being the clear number one team in the country, which I think right now everybody would say it is, but if it continues to do that and especially if it throttles LSU in the SEC championship game, it just gives more to that game that Tennessee played against Georgia. And I think, I mean, I would be surprised in a lot of ways if Georgia beats LSU, especially if it beats LSU handily in the SEC championship game and Tennessee doesn't get in. Obviously they'd need some things some things to happen here and there, but I think it's setting up for it to happen. I know nobody wants it to happen, it's setting up for it to happen.
And then, of course, there's option B to this, which is LSU upsetting Georgia in the SEC championship game, becoming the first two loss CFP team in Georgia, SEC would definitely have to team two teams in at that point for sure, it would have two teams in, I would think, with Georgia and LSU, so.
But obviously Tennessee needs some things to happen right? They need TCU probably to take a loss at some point, already the Pac 12 champion will have a loss, so that's going to help them a little bit, but they do, they would need some things to go their way, they don't necessarily control their own destiny, so to speak.
PAT FORDE: Tennessee to me goes to the head of the one loss class. Their one loss is 14 points, and I agree it was not that close, but 14 points to the best team. Oregon lost to that same team by 46, so they're going to be ahead of Oregon, and Oregon is the best one-loss team resume wise in the Pac 12.
Somebody's getting a loss between Ohio State and Michigan, how would that team measure up at 11 to 1 against Tennessee, if you tease it out and they both win the rest of their games? The TCU factor. So if you get undefeated Georgia, say you get, all right, undefeated Michigan, then you've got one loss Ohio State, one loss Tennessee, maybe or you do or you don't have an undefeated TCU, you would have those three, if TCU's undefeated, you'd probably have those three for two spots.
Oregon could maybe make an argument, but I said, I think Tennessee is ahead of Oregon right now, and then we'll see how it plays out.
ROSS DELLENGER: It hurts them that they actually have a common opponent, right? It hurts Oregon they have a common opponent that you can judge by, and that was on a neutral field, or that well, neutral, quote. It wasn't all that neutral, I know.