The Alabama Crimson Tide and Georgia Bulldogs made history this year by making the SEC the first conference to put two teams in the College Football Playoff together. Now, they’re the first two squads from the same league to ever play for all the marbles in this format.
Perhaps it’s only fitting that this year’s coronation in college football will take place on the same field that hosted the SEC Championship Game just a few short weeks ago. Georgia won the battle that day against Auburn to get into the CFP, but it remains to be seen if it can win the war in the National Championship Game against the Crimson Tide.
How Georgia Won the Rose Bowl
The Bulldogs certainly didn’t have their best defensive game ever against Oklahoma, but they didn’t play nearly as badly as you might have thought. Sure, the 31 points allowed in the first half was a horrid joke, but the Sooners were essentially rendered useless offensively in the third quarter.
Jake Fromm didn’t look anything like a youngster in becoming the first true freshman quarterback to ever win the Rose Bowl. He didn’t have to work all that hard thanks to Sony Michel and Nick Chubb combining to account for just shy of 400 yards of offense and five total touchdowns, but there’s no doubt that Fromm made the throws he had to make to produce such a comeback.
How Alabama Won the Sugar Bowl
Jalen Hurts gets a lot of flak. Many think he’s the weak piece to the Crimson Tide puzzle. There’s certainly at least a bit of an argument to be made, but we didn’t see it in the Sugar Bowl against Clemson.
Sure, Hurts only threw for 120 yards. And sure, he was rather neutralized as a runner. But he didn’t make huge mistakes in the game and let his defense go out and win it.
That defense is healthier than it has been at any point this season, and it showed against the Tigers. Clemson only amassed 188 total yards of offense and was held without a touchdown in a full game for just the second time in the Dabo Swinney era.
Why Georgia Will Win the National Championship Game
Few teams have figured out how to run the ball against Alabama over the course of the entire Nick Saban era, but Georgia’s 1-2 punch with Chubb and Michel is something else. Chubb isn’t going to be afraid to run right up against the monsters in the middle of the Alabama defense, and as he showed against Oklahoma, he can be a load to bring down if he can get into the second level.
But the bottom line is that Fromm definitely looks ready for this moment. He had a bad game against Auburn, but so did Hurts. That’s certainly not an indictment on his ability to perform in this one. We don’t know how well Fromm is going to play if Michel and Chubb are rendered useless, but so long as the Tide have to respect the run, we know that Fromm can make the plays to beat any defense in the land.
Why Alabama Will Win the National Championship Game
Saban flat out never loses to his former disciples. For as great of a job as Kirby Smart has done with the Bulldogs this year, Saban remains 11-0 against his former assistant coaches, and he has won all 11 games by at least two touchdowns.
On the field, you just can’t help but notice how good the Crimson Tide looked on defense against Clemson. Rashaan Evans, Levi Wallace, Mack Wilson, Anfernee Jennings and Minkah Fitzpatrick all missed at least a little bit of time this year with injuries. The whole band hasn’t been together all that often, but it has all come back in one piece at the right time.
Alabama’s rush defense is tops in the nation at just 92 yards per game allowed, and we have some serious doubt that the Bulldogs will be able to find a way to either blow through Da’Shawn Hand and the rest of those big defensive linemen or run around the speedy linebackers and safeties.
National Championship Game Prediction
Alabama felt like a team on a mission in the Sugar Bowl. No, it didn’t play its most dominant game on offense, but it didn’t have to. Even when this became a 10-6 game near halftime, there was never a point in which a neutral observer thought that the Tigers really had a good chance of coming back and winning.
It might only take one touchdown to get the job done in the National Championship Game, too. There’s something to be said about pouring your heart out for 60 minutes plus two overtimes, then having to hop on a plane from Los Angeles to Athens, GA, only to get ready for the best team in the land. We just don’t think there’s such a thing as a team that is mentally strong enough to handle this. We’ll happily take the Tide.
National Championship Game Pick: Alabama 30, Georgia 10
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