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College Football Playoff National Championship: Predictions Round up from across the Nation

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Does anyone give Alabama a chance in the championship rematch?

NCAA Football: Cotton Bowl Classic-Cincinnati at Alabama Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Gump Day, everyone!

For Alabama’s 6th crack at the national championship in the last 7 years, the Crimson Tide is drawing a rematch with the Georgia Bulldogs. As usual, the entire country is upset about the injustice of it all with two SEC teams getting in again. And, as usual, we’ll continue to revel in it.

Though Alabama handily dispatched Kirby Smart’s Bulldogs a month ago, most expect UGA to win the rematch. It’s not just wishful thinking, either, as the Vegas folks all tend to agree. Georgia remains a three point favorite according to DraftKings sportsbook.

Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See for details.

Maybe the biggest difference between the first and second meeting when Alabama has the ball is that the Tide will be without second-leading receiver John Metchie to complement All-America deep threat Jameson Williams.

Metchie was lost for the season against Georgia with a knee injury, but not before he had six catches for 97 yards and a touchdown. Alabama always has another receiver, but nobody else is as much as of a run-after-the-catch threat as Metchie.

“Now Slade Bolden can kind of be that a little bit in the slot,” McElroy said. “The young guys are great, but they’re still going to miss that presence.”

RUSSO’S PREDICTION: Picking against Saban and Alabama twice in the same season is never wise but: GEORGIA 28-24.

This is actually a solid breakdown piece from Fox, and at least the author acknowledges that his pick is unwise.

Will Young have to repeat that performance against a defense that is ranked third nationally against the rush? That’s assuming Georgia can run it with Alabama being ranked second in that category. Will Anderson Jr. is a given. The defense revolves around the talented linebacker, who leads the country in sacks with three of 17.5 coming in the postseason.

Who will win?

This game screams close and screams under the total (52.5 points). Georgia must limit Young and history. Alabama has won seven in a row, a record in a series that goes back to 1895. Just a hunch, but this seems to be Georgia’s time. Smart gets his first national championship and denies Saban his eighth. Call it 27-25, Dawgs.

No prediction in this one, but I love the assertion that it’s all Auburn’s fault that Alabama got into the playoffs:

Those games could be sold to a national audience. This matchup — which actually does shape up to be a much better game than the first meeting — has no widespread appeal.

One of college football’s selling points is that every game matters. And by that measuring stick, we’ve already determined Alabama to be the better team here.

Instead, one of the chief arguments for those who believe the college game to be more exciting than its professional counterpart is shown as a fallacy. The NFL playoff structure at least prevents us from seeing the same matchup twice in 3 games.

If you’re among those who are unenthused by Alabama-Georgia Part II, there is one team to blame for putting us in this pickle: Auburn. And more specifically, Auburn coach Bryan Harsin.

Oddly enough, the first non-Alabama site I stumbled across to pick the Tide is.... The TCU Sports Illustrated...?

National Championship Prediction

It’s really hard to imagine that Alabama will just fall off from their last matchup. While beating a good team twice is difficult, Saban’s proven nothing’s out of the cards for him.

Alabama is just too good downfield and too explosive behind Bryce Young for them to be stifled offensively.

While this game might not be another 20-point blowout, Georgia turning a 24-point deficit (for much of the game) into a National Championship victory would be astonishing. Sorry, Georgia, but the 1980 season will remain the most glorious for another year.

The pick: Alabama 31-20

Despite getting handled by Alabama in the SEC Championship Game, Georgia opened up as a 2.5-point favorite and that line has already move to -3. I think that Georgia is the better team here, but last game’s result gives me pause when it comes to betting on a side in this game.

That’s why I think a look at the total is the right move to make. There were 65 points scored in the SEC Championship, and I think the high-scoring affair is what the true outlier was in that game.

Georgia only allowed an eye-popping 9.8 points per game this college football season, so I expect its defense to bounce back in a big way on January 10th. Meanwhile, Alabama’s defense showed its teeth by completely shutting down Desmond Ridder and Cincinnati in the semi-final game, holding them to a measly six points.

With the total in the 50s, I think it’s too high and a complete overreaction to an uncharacteristically high-scoring affair for both teams a few weeks back.

Outside of that, no news has really broken around Alabama... And that’s a good thing. Saban and crew are all talking up Brock Bowers after his phenomenal performance against the Tide last time:

“I think this guy is one of the premier players in college football,” head coach Nick Saban said. “I know he’s just a freshman, but this guy’s got great size. He’s a good blocker. He’s physical, he’s tough and he’s got wide receiver skills in every way, shape or form, which makes it difficult being a bigger guy for bigger guys to cover him and it makes it also difficult for smaller guys to cover him.

“This guy is just a phenomenal football player all the way around. They do a really good job of featuring his talents as well, and he’s been extremely productive in a lot of ways. I know everybody always knows the passes he catches, but also a really good blocker and does a good job in his part of executing whatever he needs to do to help his teammates have success, as well.”

Finally, I really, really am enjoying all of this media gamesmanship going on that can only happen in a rematch like this:

Nick Saban said after the game that Bennett made his plays when he knew what the “picture” was from the defense, and Alabama did its best to “change the picture” and have him make decisions after the snap.

Bennett explained he would prefer for Alabama to send him an e-mail this week with any changes they will make to their defense entering the second game but he assumes they will not.

“So we’re going to prepare with what they’ve put on tape,” he said. “We’re going to stick with their tendencies, just the same way I do every week, and be ready to adjust, say they come out in a completely different defense.

Roll Tide!