ATHENS Georgia didn't get the respect Kirby Smart felt it deserved in last year's College Football Playoff race, but the Bulldogs got off to a strong start in Tuesday night's rankings.
CFP Committee chairman Rob Mullens pointed to Georgia's impressive wins over Notre Dame and Florida as the major factor for No. 6-ranked Georgia being the top-ranked one-loss team.
"Georgia has beaten two top 15 teams, No. 10 Florida, No. 15 Notre Dame," Mullens said, asked by DawgNation on Tuesday night's national teleconference about the Bulldogs place in the order of one-loss teams.
"They are the only FBS team to not give up a rushing touchdown, which is a pretty strong statement. They have an experienced quarterback, and elite running back," he said. "But the separator for them at this point was the two Top 15 wins."
The Bulldogs rank No. 1 in the SEC in total defense, rushing defense and scoring defense, and are No. 2 in pass efficiency defense.
Smart said earlier on Tuesday night he's too busy preparing for Missouri to pay any attention to the rankings.
" I don't have any idea and don't care," Smart said. "Everyone knows it doesn't matter. What matters is how we play against Missouri. That's the only thing we can control."
Smart expressed frustration last year when Georgia was left out, pointing out the CFP Committee can change the priorities it places on the variables from one year to the next.
"Every year it's going to be different," Smart said of the criteria the committee applies behind closed doors, the votes kept private. "Do I have clarity? I don't think I have clarity."
Indeed, being a conference champion didn't matter in 2017, but being a conference champion did matter in 2018.
Former SEC commissioner and BCS founder Roy Kramer expressed some concerns with the process in an exclusive interview with DawgNation this summer.
Mullens explained last year that, because the committee could not determine the fourth best team, it resorted back to protocol.
"What we decided was amongst the group of three, Oklahoma, Georgia, Ohio State, the committee voted that no one was unequivocally better than the other," Mullens said last December. "So then we leaned on the protocol. So we went with the one-loss conference champion."
Georgia will likely need to win out in the regular season and win the SEC Championship to return to the College Football Playoffs.
A two-loss team has yet to make the four-team field
The CFP Committee will release four more sets of rankings on each Tuesday night before the final rankings come out on Dec. 8.
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