Written by: Josh Gutbrod
There can only be one. The Georgia Bulldogs and Alabama Crimson Tide will meet for the 68th time tonight, yet this one will be unlike any of the previous match ups. This one is for it all, for a National Championship. For Kirby Smart and Georgia, it could mark the beginning of a long reign of dominance. For Nick Saban and Alabama, a win would simply continue the almost boringly consistent success of the program Saban brought back to greatness.
After Alabama snuffed out a rolling Clemson squad and Georgia outlasted Baker Mayfield and the electric Oklahoma offense, there is no doubt these are the best two teams in the country. That debate is over, but a more intriguing question remains: does Georgia have what it takes to knock off the Crimson Tide?
The short answer is a simple no. Erase all memory of the loss to Auburn from your mind, as the Tide is now healthy and certainly a much different team now. Keep in mind that the Clemson team that was routed by Alabama in the National Semifinals is also highly reliant on the run much like Georgia. The Tide are not a team that will allow the Georgia backs to do whatever they want, and for Georgia to move the ball offensively the receivers are going to have to be the ones making some big plays.
While the Georgia receivers become a key factor in this game, Nick Chubb and Sony Michel can’t afford to be anything less than spectacular themselves. The two workhorse talents will have to punish the Alabama front seven to keep things comfortable for Fromm. The issue is, Alabama’s front seven has only allowed a 100 yard rusher twice this season. If the Tide front is able to shutdown either of the two backs, look for defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt to really turn the heat up on Fromm. The star freshman having to win the game for UGA is a recipe for disaster. As talented as he is, I doubt he is ready to take over a game of this magnitude against such an opportunistic and aggressive defense.
Maybe Georgia isn’t getting enough credit. Maybe Georgia really is the best team in the country and tonight belongs to the Bulldogs. Maybe Kirby Smart will become the Nick Saban assistant to go off on his own and beat the legendary coach head to head. Or maybe Alabama was really the best team in the country the entire time. Not Clemson, not Georgia, not Ohio State, not Auburn. Alabama, just like it seems to be almost every year. Maybe everyone that criticized the Tide was failing to consider how many injuries the team was dealing with. Maybe somehow Alabama was the one that was underestimated heading into the Playoff. The Tide did not look like a 4 seed as they manhandled Clemson, after all. Jake Fromm is going to have Georgia in title contention until he decides to make the leap to the NFL, but this just seems like too daunting of a task for the young signal caller. Nick Saban picks up his fourth straight win against the Bulldogs &!his six National Title, edge to the Tide 38-24.