For the second time in five years, the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Georgia Bulldogs will face one another in an all-SEC National Championship Game. These two teams met a month ago in the SEC Championship Game, with Alabama winning 41-24. But for Monday’s game in Indianapolis, the Bulldogs are favored by 2.5, with the over/under set at 52 points.
Georgia faced some tough questions after the SEC Championship Game. But the Bulldogs responded with an emphatic 34-11 win over Michigan in the College Football Playoff semifinals. It was a good reminder of just how dominant Georgia was during the regular season when the Bulldogs were 12-0 and won all but one game by at least 17 points.
As for the Crimson Tide, they kept rolling with a 27-6 win over Cincinnati in the semifinals. In fairness, Alabama faced some tricky games against LSU, Arkansas, and Auburn down the stretch. But Nick Saban’s team has played like a championship-caliber team in its last two games.
Only the Young
Alabama quarterback Bryce Young threw for over 400 yards and three touchdowns against Georgia last month and will need another strong performance on Monday. However, the Alabama offense looked different without John Metchie against Cincinnati, forcing Jameson Williams into a different role. On the bright side, running back Brian Robinson and the Crimson Tide offensive line never looked better than they did against Cincinnati.
The Alabama defense also deserves some of the credit for the Tide’s last few wins. In the SEC Championship Game, the Crimson Tide was able to slow down the Georgia running game and force quarterback Stetson Bennett to beat them. Granted, the Alabama secondary has been vulnerable at times, but the Tide also has 52 sacks in 14 games this year, including 17.5 from Will Anderson.
Monday’s game figures to be a chance for Bennett to redeem himself against Alabama. The former walk-on couldn’t come through the one time his team needed him to win a game this season. However, he handled himself against a strong Michigan defense in the semifinals and could be better prepared the second time around against the Crimson Tide.
Of course, the Bulldogs are expecting their defense to play much better the second time against Alabama and carry the load. The SEC Championship Game was the first time the Bulldogs allowed more than 17 points in a game, as they’ve been historically good all season. The Bulldogs looked back to their normal selves against Michigan, although Kirby Smart still has some adjustments to make against the Alabama defense.
Don’t Doubt the King
There are reasons why Saban was perfect when facing his assistants until Alabama’s loss to Texas A&M earlier this season. It’s hard to doubt Saban when the Crimson Tide gets to a championship game, especially against one of his former assistants. Smart is 0-4 against Saban, including 0-3 in championship games.
Georgia might have the better defense in this game, but there’s no question that Alabama has the better quarterback and better offensive playmakers. The Tide is also coming on strong defensively and has more experience in games like this. Bet on Alabama to win Monday’s National Championship Game.
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