In a weekend full of conference championship games, the most important one is the SEC Championship between the no. 1 Georgia Bulldogs and the no. 3 Alabama Crimson Tide. The Tide has won six straight games against Georgia, including the 2017 National Championship Game and the 2018 SEC Championship Game, as well as a 41-24 game in Tuscaloosa last season. However, the Bulldogs are listed as 6.5-point favorites in Atlanta with the over/under set at 49.5 points.
The pressure in this game is undoubtedly on Alabama. The Crimson Tide has endured some close calls over the past month, including a four-overtime game against Auburn last week. More importantly, it’s debatable whether Nick Saban’s team can endure another loss and still make the College Football Playoff.
Meanwhile, Georgia will likely make the CFP whether they win or lose on Saturday. Of course, the Bulldogs are no doubt hungry to keep their undefeated record intact and win an SEC title. Plus, beating Alabama in the SEC Championship Game would likely mean that the Bulldogs won’t have to worry about seeing Alabama again in the playoff.
A Historic Brick Wall
This year’s Georgia defense could go down as one of the best in college football history. After shutting out Georgia Tech last week, the Bulldogs have three shutouts this year and have held eight of their 12 opponents to seven points or less. In fact, they are giving up just 6.9 points per game with no team scoring more than 17 points against them all year.
That has made it easy for the offense and quarterback Stetson Bennett, who has held onto the starting job after JT Daniels missed time with an injury this season. Bennett isn’t on any Heisman watch lists, but he’s completed 65% of his passes while averaging nearly 11 yards per pass, so his efficiency is off the charts. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs have a rushing attack that’s averaging 5.4 yards per carry behind the tandem of Zamir White and James Cook.
Something could be amiss with the Alabama offense because both LSU and Auburn have been able to keep the Tide under wraps over the last month. The offensive line is starting to falter, as Bryce Young took seven sacks against Auburn last week while also completing less than half of his passes in what was surely his worst game of the season. To make matters worse, running back Brian Robinson is questionable to play, potentially leaving Alabama with just one healthy scholarship running back.
There are also some questions on the defensive side of the ball, especially after the Tide gave up 35 points against Arkansas two weeks ago. For the most part, Alabama has stopped the run this year while linebacker Will Anderson has racked up 14.5 of the team’s 43 sacks. But when the Crimson Tide hasn’t been able to pressure the quarterback, some teams have taken advantage of space in the Alabama secondary.
Student Becomes the Master
When Alabama lost to Texas A&M earlier this year, Saban lost to a former assistant for the first time in his career. Kirby Smart now has a golden opportunity to become the second of Saban’s assistants to beat him head-to-head. With the Tide in a tough position and the Bulldogs as dominant as they get, bet on Georgia to win and cover in the SEC Championship Game.
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