No. 8 Alabama knocks off No. 1 Georgia for SEC title, Both are awaiting

No. 8 Alabama knocks off No. 1 Georgia 27-24 for SEC title. Both teams await postseason fate

— After handing Georgia its first loss in nearly two years, Alabama mixed a raucous celebration of its latest Southeastern Conference championship with a whole lot of lobbying for a College Football Playoff spot that no one could’ve envisioned in September.

Jalen Milroe, the quarterback who epitomizes the Crimson Tide’s remarkable turnaround from an early-season loss to Texas, posed a pointed question to the committee that will decide who’s in — and who’s out.

“Georgia is number one, right?” said Milroe, who was picked as MVP of a 27-24 victory Saturday that snapped the top-ranked Bulldogs’ 29-game winning streak. “We just beat the number one team. What do you consider us?”

Alabama would have to make a big leap from No. 8 in both the AP poll and the most recent CFP rankings — and perhaps leapfrog the No. 7 Texas team that beat it 34-24 in Tuscaloosa on Sept. 9 — to claim a spot in the four-team playoff that will be announced Sunday.

Another big question: Is Georgia’s bid for a third straight national title over?

Coach Kirby Smart bristled at the notion that his team — with two straight national titles on its resume — squandered a shot at becoming the first team in the AP poll era to win three championships in a row.

“It’s the best four teams,” Smart said. “So if you go tell me somebody sitting in that committee room doesn’t think that Georgia team is one of the best four teams, I don’t know if they’re in the right profession because we’re a really good football team.”

After his Iron Bowl heroics a week earlier, Milroe threw a pair of touchdown passes and Alabama’s defense dominated much of the way after giving up a score on Georgia’s opening possession. It was the 30th SEC crown for the Tide — more than twice as many as any other school.

Alabama (12-1) sorted out its quarterback situation and hasn’t lost since. The victory over Georgia was the Tide’s 11th in a row and may be good enough to give them a big boost in the selection committee’s eyes.

“This is a team,” said Alabama coach Nick Saban, who may get a chance to add to his record seven national titles. “I’ve never been prouder of a group of guys.”

Georgia (12-1) will have to hope its dominance over the last two seasons persuades the committee to provide a shot at a do-over in the playoff. That’s just what happened two years ago, when Alabama romped to a 41-24 victory over the top-ranked Bulldogs in the SEC title game and both teams were invited to play on.

Georgia avenged its SEC defeat with a 33-18 victory over Alabama in the national championship game, and the Bulldogs made it two titles in a row with a 15-0 season in 2022. Their hopes of a three-peat are now in the hands of others.

Georgia closed the gap to 20-17 after a 28-yard punt return by little-used Anthony Evans III set up Carson Beck’s sneak into the end zone for Georgia’s first touchdown since the opening minutes.

But, with a drive for the ages, Milroe hooked up with Isaiah Bond on four completions for 56 yards — rekindling memories of a week earlier when the two connected on a fourth-and-31 touchdown pass that miraculously pulled out an Iron Bowl victory over Auburn.

Roydell Williams scored on a 1-yard run that restored Alabama’s lead to 27-17 with 5:47 remaining.

Georgia didn’t go quietly. The Bulldogs hustled down the field for another TD, scoring on Kendall Milton’s second touchdown of the game, a fourth-and-goal run from the 1 with 2:52 left to again climb within a field goal.


Groza Award finalist Will Reichard booted a 43-yard field goal in the first quarter to reach 533 career points and become the leading scorer in NCAA FBS history, breaking a tie with former Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds.

Reichard added a 34-yard field goal and three extra points, boosting his total to 539 points.


That’s in the hands of the CFP selection committee, which will announce the four playoff teams Sunday, as well as the rest of the New Year’s Six bowl assignments.