Happy Championship Monday, everyone. Tonight the National Championship Game will be played after Nick Saban has had the opportunity to tell his team that they are underdogs to a team that they beat by 17 a little over a month ago. Your previews:
Alabama’s back was against the wall when these teams met on Dec. 4 in the SEC Championship Game, and it showed. The Crimson Tide turned in a second quarter for the ages and raced to a 41-24 victory that de-legitimized Georgia’s accomplishments during a dominant regular season. The nature of that loss — with the Crimson Tide dissecting UGA’s celebrated defense — will motivate the Bulldogs, who will use what they learned to play much better defensively in the rematch. This time, it’s Georgia playing with a chip on its shoulder, and that will show as the Bulldogs finally breakthrough for the program’s first national championship in over four decades. Pick: Georgia -2.5 | Georgia 38, Alabama 20
On the flip side, Alabama’s defense did a tremendous job of confusing Georgia QB Stetson Bennett in the first game, baiting him into two interceptions. (The Tide should’ve had more picks, honestly.) I expect Georgia to put a little less on Bennett’s plate in this game because while Bennett doesn’t get nearly the credit he deserves from fans, he’s still not a guy you want throwing 40 times per game.
If Georgia can take care of the ball and limit Alabama’s big plays, it will win this game. But, again, that’s hard to do because Bama is really good! So as I said, my confidence level here isn’t high, but I believe Georgia covers more often than not. Pick: Georgia -2.5
Pat Forde: Georgia 24, Alabama 20.
I’m probably being stubborn here, but I’m prepared to die on the Georgia hill. I’ve watched the Bulldogs play 13 dominant games and one bad one—a higher hit rate than Alabama, although there was little doubt who was better when they played each other in Atlanta. Still, The injury to John Metchie III makes this an easier defensive task for Georgia, which now can tilt coverage toward Jameson Williams while also being able to devote more bodies to pressuring Bryce Young. Georgia has to get him on the ground and/or force more errant throws than it did in the first meeting.
There will be one giant Alabama big play for a score – and it might happen in the first five minutes – but the O will settle for field goal after field goal as the Dawgs will look and play like they have 14 defenders on the field as the game goes on.
This won’t be anything pretty, but it’ll be intense throughout – it’ll always feel like the dam is about to break at any moment and Alabama will take over – but no one knows better than Saban that destructive defenses win national titles.
No, you’re never, ever, ever wrong to pick Alabama.
Even if Georgia is about to win the national championship for the 2021 college football season.
Georgia 26, Alabama 23
This won’t be a blowout like last time. Georgia got its groove back on both sides of the ball, and Alabama has depth to overcome injuries on both sides of the ball. Look for Georgia to jump out to a quick lead again, like they did in the SEC championship game. The Bulldogs might even lead at halftime. Then, Young, the Heisman winner delivers a quick strike to Williams that starts the rally, and Alabama breaks the hearts of Georgia fans again. The Crimson Tide wins a seventh national championship under Nick Saban.
Final score: Alabama 28, Georgia 24
Moneyline and Total Points: Georgia and Over 41.5 (+125)
In the last four matchups, these two teams tallied an average combined score of 59.75. The lowest was Alabama’s 26-23 win in the 2018 national championship. The 49 points still landed 7.5 points over the mark you need to hit to cash this bet. The last three meetings each produced 63 points or more.
Bryce Young played perfectly in the SEC championship. I am betting the Georgia defensive front has much more success this time around, but the Alabama offense is too good to keep out of the 20s. If you are betting Georgia to win, adding over 41.5 points is a great way to bolster your return with +125 odds.
Most seem to be picking Georgia in this one, but everyone knows that this game could go either way. These are the two best teams in the land this year and the rosters are remarkably similar. When things are pretty equal everywhere else, in the modern game you go with the QB. Bennett could have easily thrown a couple more picks in Atlanta than the ones the Tide caught. Look for Bryce to put more points on the board again. My prediction is already on record at Alabama, 34-24.
Of course, that is merely my opinion. Vote and give us yours in the comments.
What will be the result of the national championship game?
Nothing sucks like a Kirby, Alabama by 10+
Close but the good guys prevail, Alabama by 1-9
Georgia flips the script (FLAGGED!)
Smart and Saban gave their last remarks to media before the game yesterday.
— Consistency has always been an issue with one game being a letdown, Smart said. They had been consistent up until the SEC championship game when Alabama beat them 41-24 and they’ve refocused quite a bit in the time since.
— The biggest challenge with Georgia is the defensive front seven with fast linebackers and big, athletic linemen. “If you want to have success, you have to control their front seven to some degree,” Saban said.
“Refocused?” Buddy, if your team had an issue with focus when playing the defending national champions and personal nemesis, with the SEC Championship on the line, then there are deeper issues. I find it much more likely that Georgia simply ran into the first offense that could challenge the suspect secondary.
This is a fun piece from WSB in Atlanta.
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart was 5 years old.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban was 29 years old.
The Billboard Top 100 No. 1 song was “(Just Like) Starting Over” by John Lennon.
The top film at the U.S. box office was “9 to 5″ starring Dolly Parton (34), Jane Fonda (43), and Lily Tomlin (41).
The median home price was $47,200.
If you’d like a good omen, perhaps this is one.
Alabama earned its first lead in the game early in the first quarter, after Davis knocked down a pair of 3-pointers, and the Crimson Tide held on to that lead for more than 32 minutes in the game. Georgia made its charge late in the second half, outscoring Alabama, 43-20, in that time. The Lady Bulldogs made it official after knocking down five free throws in the final two minutes, while the Crimson Tide went on a scoring drought.
The Alabama men fell to Georgia in Athens the Saturday before the other time these two met for the national title. This will, of course, be the first time that the two have met in the postseason at a venue other than Bryant Denny East. That could be a factor too, as a Georgia fanbase that is much hungrier for a title has likely traveled better than Alabama.
That’s about it for now. Have a great week.