The following article is an opinion piece by the author and represents the views of only the author and not necessarily those of AllOnGeorgia.
On paper, the game should end in a tie, and there should be countless overtimes. These two teams are about as evenly matched as two teams can be… On paper. Fortunately for the football watching public, games aren’t played on paper, they’re played inside televisions for us to enjoy. Alabama is the Vegas favorite, by about a field goal. However, the list of injured Tide players (Tides, Tiders, Tide-ists?) seems to be growing by the minute. Right Guard Lester Cotton is the latest addition to the list. He’ll miss the big game with a leg injury suffered in the Sugar Bowl against Clemson last week. Bama was already down three linebackers, and they’ve been without Tight End Miller Forrestal for most of the season. Georgia Tight End Charlie Woerner is listed as doubtful for the game, and there are some other minor injuries, but nothing like what Alabama is dealing with.
Are we making excuses for the Tide? Absolutely not. You have to fight a war with the army you have, not the army you wish you had. Not to mention teams that make it to this level are loaded with top tier talent, so there are no excuses.
Looking at their common opponents, which is the only way that two teams who haven’t played each other can be compared at all, they have the same record. Sort of. Both teams beat Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and Mississippi St. They both lost to Auburn, but Georgia avenged that loss in the SEC championship game. Alabama may have done the same, given the opportunity. Georgia averaged 267 rushing yards per game this year, while Bama held their opponents to 91 yards rushing per game. Bama rolled up 255 yards per game on the ground, while Georgia held their opponents to 121. In the air, Georgia has picked up 173 yards per game, while Alabama has limited their opponents to 161 yards per game. Georgia has held their opponents to an average of 167 passing yards per game, and Alabama has gained 198 yards per contest using the forward pass.
Do whatever math you feel like you need to do with those numbers, but we’ll save you the trouble and say that it’s a pretty even matchup. So what will be the difference in this game? Georgia’s defense. They pass the eye test in terms of aggression, assignment, and team speed. I’m not saying Alabama doesn’t have a solid defense of their own, or that Georgia will shut them out completely, but if the run games are equal, Jalen Hurts is no Baker Mayfield. Georgia will be able to put enough pressure on Hurts to force bad throws, maybe a couple of picks, and likely a few sacks. On the other side, Jake Fromm has proven to be ice cold in the clutch, and he does things that freshman QB’s aren’t supposed to be able to do, like the check-off that set up the last touchdown in regulation in the Rose Bowl. Fromm is not an overwhelming talent at the QB position, he just doesn’t make mistakes.
This game, like all other games, will come down to three or four plays. Those plays will go in favor of the Georgia Bulldogs giving them their first National Title since 1980.
And somewhere, Larry Munson will need a new chair.
Author: William Munny Sports Contributor