Alabama gears up to take on newcomer Georgia for National Title
January 8, 2018
After a season of twists and turns, Georgia and Alabama will play in Atlanta on Monday (8PM ESPN) for the National Championship. Georgia is coming off an emotional victory over Oklahoma in a classic Rose Bowl game while Alabama defeated Clemson in dominating fashion. Both teams have proven that their defenses are the real deal, and all signs point towards an old fashioned low-scoring battle. Both teams, however, can put points up on the board, and this is one of the more unpredictable championship games in recent memory. Here are our staff’s predictions for the game:
Jonathan: Georgia 27 – Alabama 21
It’s debatable that Georgia has the advantage on both the offensive and defensive end in this game, but for a more interesting breakdown, let’s say that Alabama has the advantage on defense. Georgia’s running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel have carried the team and have both torn defenses apart all season. A two headed monster in the backfield along with Jake Fromm, the rising star freshman quarterback for the Dawgs, is going to be hard to stop, even for an incredible defense like Alabama’s. ‘Bama has a definite advantage in one category, however: coaching. Nick Saban has won five national championships, four of those in Tuscaloosa.
Even though the Crimson Tide has dominated the College Football landscape for the past 7-8 years, Georgia is the more complete team this season and will come away with a close victory.
Jake: Alabama 17 – Georgia 12
Anyone who saw Alabama completely dominate Clemson, knows one thing. ‘Bama’s defense is back. Offense in this game will be hard to come by.
The matchup you’re going to want to pay attention to is Georgia’s stellar run game led by Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, against Alabama’s intimidating front seven. That will be the x-factor in this game. Whether or not Alabama can suffocate the Georgia run game, as we saw them do with Clemson.
If you’re looking for an abundance of offense, and scoring this may not be the game for you. Two defensive juggernauts going toe-to-toe will result in a defensive slug-fest.
From an offensive perspective for the Crimson Tide, the player to watch closely is Jallen Hurts. The Alabama quarterback. Hurts has heard an overwhelming amount of criticism about his ability to be a dominant pocket passer. Expect Georgia to key in on this, with a loaded box, and various blitz packages early in the game. Running backs, Damien Harris and Bo Scarborough will need to averaging somewhere in the ballpark of four yards a carry to help Hurts setup play action, and force Georgia to empty out the box.
On Georgia’s end, their offense revolves around their ability to run the ball down your throat, and then kill you with the pass in the second half. Running backs, Sony Michel and Nick Chubb will once receive a hefty workload. The two backs will do their best to wear down an imposing Alabama front seven. If Michel and Chubb run wild, as we saw them do in the Rose Bowl, Alabama could be in for a very long night.
Georgia enters with the hot-hand on offense, having thrown 54 points up just a week ago. However; you can’t forget that defense wins championships. Period. A revitalized Alabama unit, will rise to the occasion to shut the Bulldogs down. As the Crimson Tide will once again emerge as the National Champions.
Grayson: Georgia 31 – Alabama 24
This championship game is the opposite of what many had originally thought. Many believed the Clemson Tigers, would be matching up with the Oklahoma Sooners, who are led by Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield. Instead we get an SEC matchup, with two defensive-minded physical teams.
Neither team has the complete advantage in any single area. Both teams have extremely solid defenses, along with a good ground and pound run game. Georgia gets the advantage at the quarterback position, as Jake Fromm is a far better pocket-passer than Alabama’s Jalen Hurts.
Anyone that watched the Rose Bowl saw Sony Michel and Nick Chubb completely dominate, as the two running backs took over the game. That same kind of production can’t be expected against a tough Alabama front seven, but look for them to still have nice games.
Georgia’s defense is easily capable enough to best Alabama’s offense. Alabama’s defense is also stout enough to slow Georgia’s running game. Alabama running back Bo Scarborough will have to be effective to open up play action for the Crimson Tide. This will also help setup Jalen Hurts ability to scramble from the pocket, where he is most comfortable.
Alabama’s Nick Saban has a clear advantage in the Coach department, considering his experience and familiarity with the title game. That won’t be enough for the Crimson Tide, as the Bulldogs will overpower them, en route to a 31-24 victory.