Alabama versus Georgia gets top-billing in this all-SEC national championship game Monday night. In recent years the Big Ten and ACC conferences made progress in closing the gap on the all-mighty SEC. The Big Ten as a league lost only one bowl game this postseason with the Ohio State Buckeyes representing the conference not able to qualify for a Semifinal spot. Whether you believe the Buckeyes should’ve gotten the nod over Alabama or not, the fact remains the SEC is still solid at the top. Obviously the hot-button topic of expanding the playoffs to 6 or 8 teams is a whole other subject so let’s focus in on Monday’s matchup.
At the core, the two national finalists are built somewhat similar in the form of a strong defense matched with an effective running attack. This matchup is definitely a throwback to black and blue, bone-crushing, hard-nosed (pick the cliché) football. Rightfully so, the Crimson Tide come in as a slight favorite in Las Vegas and an even larger amongst the media.
Breaking down this SEC showcase it’s hard to see a path to victory for Georgia. Adding a little nugget this game is the head coaches past history, Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart was groomed under the guidance of Nick Saban. Smart served as defensive coordinator during Bama’s dominant-run especially on the defensive end. Former Saban disciples haven’t fared well when facing their head-chief. So much so that Saban has never loss. Smart does have a slight advantage as far as knowing player personal on defense having recruited and developing many of them.
Both offenses must establish some sort of running game which won’t be an easy task based off both defenses being stout. On the surface stat-wise the quarterback matchup is fairly close. Once experience is factored in to the equation it favors Alabama QB Jalen Hurts. Adding in to that same equation, the more talented skilled players at Hurts disposal only makes the picture clearer.
A month and change ago, one could make the case for subtle weaknesses on defense for Alabama. Now almost at full strength at linebacker Bama’s defensive unit looked as elite as ever last Monday versus Clemson. Experience is the key and will likely be the main reason the Crimson Tide will be victorious. What Georgia needs to do is to score in the red zone and win the turnover battle. Can Kirby Smart do what no other former Alabama coordinator has done and finally beat the master/teacher in Nick Saban? I’m banking on Alabama to slowly but surely wear down the Bulldogs.
The Pick: Alabama 26 Georgia 16
Written by Chris Carlson Host/Producer of The College Ball Show Podcast Available on Apple Podcast (ITunes), Player.FM, Stitcher, Tunein, www.blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio & TheGruelingTruth.Net Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio
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