Both schools sport shades of red. Both universities are housed in quiet Southern cities nestled outside of major urban areas. Both towns have a proud former indie music scene. Both flagship programs dominate media interest and attention in their states, over the whining and paranoia of their in-state, land grant rivals. Both teams had a bulldozing Heisman trophy winner running back. The two proudly obsess over a respective legendary coach, either of whom could have won the Governor's office in a landslide without running a single ad. And both absolutely despise the Auburn Tigers.*
Now, in 2015, Vegas predicts that Alabama and Georgia will win their divisions with nearly identical records.
Despite losing eight offensive starters, Alabama is expected to enter the 2015 season well inside the Top 10 and to be in the thick of the playoff hunt. A vicious and improved defense, some very skilled running backs, and tons of raw, but touted talent at the skills positions will do that for you. Still, many are selling the Tide this year. The prevailing new lazy narrative this season ("THE SEC IS DEAD! ERMAGERD!") has provided plenty of opportunities for contrariness. That meme is aided of course by the Tide's demonstrable inability to defend vertical passing routes for the previous two years, and is still very much up in the air (a problem also afflicting Georgia.) Then, there's that little matter of whether anyone can lock down the quarterback spot to help take the focus off of a thinner-than-usual RB corps and a retooled offensive line.
Meanwhile, Georgia finds itself in a very un-Dawglike dilemma. Sure, there is NFL-ready talent along both lines (as usual) and Georgia again has one of the nation's best running back corps. But, there are two things that Georgia is certainly unaccustomed to: With Mike Bobo's departure, there is a lack of continuity in the offensive coaching staff, and the Dawgs don't have their usually-excellent passing game. It would be fair to ask, amidst the other concerns in Athens, who is the number one receiver on the outside (another similarity to the Tide,) and whether Brice Ramsey isn't really just Jacob Coker, but with grown men barking at him on Saturdays.
Vegas looked at the warts and wrinkles of both Alabama and Georgia and in the end decided it's a wash -- these are practically the same team. Not like that's the worst thing either; I seem to recall a fairly decent game the last time Alabama-Georgia were evenly matched...and we won't even have to wait until December to see it this time.
Alabama: 9.5 (over -145, under +105)
Arkansas: 8.5 (over +120, under -160)
Auburn: 8.5 (over +100, under -140)
Florida: 7.5 (over -125, under -115)
Georgia: 9 (over -135, under -105)
Kentucky: 6 (over -120, under -120)
LSU: 8 (over -115, under -125)
Ole Miss: 8.5 (over -110, under -130)
Mississippi State: 7 (over -110, under -130)
Missouri: 7.5 (over -120, under -120)
South Carolina: 7 (over -120, under -120)
Tennessee: 7.5 (over -140, under +100)
Texas A&M: 7.5 (over -135, under -105)
Vanderbilt: 3 (over -135, under -105)
* If you've never done so, you need to read The Mayor's piece at Dawgsports (and the hyperlinked articles therein.) You only think you know how to hate Auburn. Actually, even if you have read it before, read it again. Hate early. Hate often.