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Georgia vs. Alabama Preview Article

VirginiaCavs

CTG Junior Moderator
Georgia vs. Alabama CFP National Championship Game Picks and Predictions

Georgia Bulldogs vs. Alabama Crimson Tide
Monday, January 10, 2022 at 8 p.m. ET (ESPN) at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis

Understanding Alabama's Ceiling

In a sense, Alabama may look like a very confusing team.

On the one hand, the Tide lose to Texas A&M, struggle to contain defensive pressure mounted by Auburn and LSU, and quarterback Bryce Young looks lost for long phases of the game against Florida with the result that he throws for a paltry 240 yards on 35 attempts.

And yet, on the other hand, essentially this same group of guys blows out a favored Georgia team that had look unbeatable. In that game, Young doesn't take a sack. Moreover, the Heisman Trophy winner throws for over 400 yards.

I think that two intangibles play a prominent role in creating this distinction: emotion and focus.

Coach Saban pointed out that, against Florida, Alabama was not focused for 60 points.

The progression of scoring out bears out Saban's observation: his team started strong, lulled with a big lead, and did enough to stay ahead.

Against Mississippi State and Ole Miss, Alabama was buoyed by emotion.

After slipping past Florida, this team had been hearing about its flaws all week from sports media organs.

Saban thus had plenty of ammunition to fire up his squad, which responded to criticism by blowing out Ole Miss.

Later, after losing to Texas A&M, Alabama was angry as it beat Mississippi State by 40 points.

In the SEC Championship Game, Alabama was playing for the SEC title and for its playoff hopes.

When Alabama is locked in, its ceiling is sky-high. This ceiling, apparent in its 17-point drubbing of Georgia, is the only relevant takeaway.

One can only assume that perhaps the greatest college coach of all time will have his squad locked in to play its best when the national title is on the line.

Pass Protection

One has to look at this meeting between Georgia and Alabama not simply as a game but as a rematch.

On December 4, Bryce Young enjoyed superb pass protection, which was the consequence of Alabama's offensive linemen preparing better than they had before.

They knew their opponent well. They were also supported by more cautious protection schemes, which further ensured that Young had sufficient time to flourish in the pocket.

This success should not be surprising because it is a talented unit. Two starters, left tackle Evan Neal who projects as the top pick in this year's NFL Draft, and right guard Emil Ekiyor were two starters on last year's group which won the Joe Moore Award given to the best offensive line.

Current starting right tackle Chris Owens also started two games that year, one at center and one at right tackle.

Bama was able to provide effective former five-star recruits as reinforcements in the win over Cincinnati.

Wide Receivers vs. Georgia Secondary

In the SEC title game, with this level of pass protection, Young was able to stand in the pocket and allow his wide receivers to find spaces for him to locate them in.

Strong pass protection amplified a serious mismatch that, despite the absence of John Metchie, will continue to favor the Bama offense.

Throughout the season, Georgia's defense has shown weakness in the back end, it only hasn't faced pass attacks that could really exploit this weakness.

Even in its season opener, this weakness was apparent as Clemson wide receivers drew multiple pass interference penalties.

This weakness was also apparent in the game against Michigan, but the anyhow run-first Wolverines lacked the confidence in their quarterback to take advantage.

In the second quarter, Michigan quarterback Cade McNamara found Roman Wilson for a 42-yard pass on a go route.

Likewise, in the third quarter, McNamara hit tight end Erick All twice for gains of over 20 yards.

The most important wide receiver for Alabama will be Jameson Williams who amassed 1,445 yards and 14 touchdowns on 21.3 YPC this season.

An effective route-runner and excellent speedster, Williams torched the Bulldogs for 184 yards on seven receptions.

As NFL projections and recent history indicate, Cincinnati's group of cornerbacks is stronger than Georgia's.

Young and his pass-catchers did generally look out of sync against Cincinnati.

But this clunkiness is unsurprising given the game plan: Bama wanted to ride its physical advantage by relying heavily on workhorse running back Brian Robinson Jr.

Against Georgia, Young and Williams will play a more central part in the Bama game-plan and will be focused and fired up to play their best as they did on December 4 against a more vulnerable group.

Georgia Can't Keep Up

Georgia is not built for shootouts and it is not built to come from behind.

Stetson Bennett is a serviceable quarterback who can eventually reach 300 yards passing with enough attempts. But, as has repeatedly been the case in recent years, Georgia is at its best on the ground.

An opponent with an offense too difficult to stop simply creates an unpropitious scenario for the Bulldogs given their limitations in the passing game.

Trends and Verdict

Alabama opened as the underdog for this game, which means that Saban will have extra ammunition to fire up his troops with.

Saban's Crimson Tide have won five of their last six times as the underdog.

Moreover, Alabama has beaten Georgia seven straight times. Four of those wins came in SEC championship games (2012, 2018, 2021) and a national championship game (Janiary 2018).

Lastly, Coach Saban is 25-1 SU against teams led by a former assistant.

Expect Alabama to race past Georgia for what will be Saban's eighth national title.

For the above reasons, I recommend playing Bama on the money-line.

But before the money-line is released, Bama ATS makes for a strong play. Do not bother buying the extra half-point.

Best Bet: Crimson Tide +2.5 at -105 with BetOnline
 

2daBank

Dan The Prop Assassin Man
All I know is for whatever reason Uga didn’t blitz those backers against bama like they did mich, I think it was prob cause they knew they be seeing them again. I think that changes a lot as I suspect they not gonna let young sit back and pick them apart again. Does it totally flip the outcome? I’m not sure, I’m confident it makes it way more competitive, well that and I expect better from Bennett in round 2. I fucked up and underestimated Uga for 1st time all year last night and it didn’t go well. Granted I don’t think saban will deploy the same bold “let’s not cover anyone” strategy that harbaugh did!
 
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2daBank

Dan The Prop Assassin Man
I don’t think it makes any sense to count bama ugly games against them, you play the sec where everyone stacked w talent and you get everyone best shot every week it inevitable you not gonna look your best all the time,, fact is I don’t think any other team could get thru that only losing once every year like they do. When you get them rested and with time to prepare you always gonna get their A game, never the egg!! You would be insane to cap any bama playoff game not expecting the best of them! That said I do think Uga the one team on their level from a talent standpoint at least. The concern for me is the teams who get bama in this game not only can match talent but have a special qb, Bennett might not get enough credit but he not special either.
 

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