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Alabama Crimson Tide vs Georgia Bulldogs

There are plenty of similarities between the Alabama Crimson Tide and Georgia Bulldogs, who are both meeting in the National Championship Game on Monday. Both teams lost just once this season (both to Auburn), they come from the same conference (SEC), and they mirror each other in terms of style of play. Let’s take a closer look at what should be a very evenly matched Championship Game.


National Championship Odds: Alabama -5

Some people thought the Crimson Tide were lucky to squeak into the College Football Playoff. The team that spent the most time at No. 1 in the rankings lost their final game of the regular season to Auburn and ended up losing the SEC Championship Game. However, Alabama looked like they belong in the playoffs, as they stymied the Clemson Tigers – the No. 1 seed in the CFP – with an easy 24-6 win in the Sugar Bowl. As for Georgia, the Bulldogs outlasted the Oklahoma Sooners in the Rose Bowl, defeating them 54-48 in double-overtime. 

Now we’re faced with an SEC showdown between two teams that are almost identical. Both teams thrive on defense. On offense, they rely on their running games and ask their quarterbacks to simply manage the game. Georgia was eighth in rushing while Alabama was 10th. Neither team was in the top 90 in terms of passing offense. On defense, Alabama was first in rush defense and third in pass defense, while Georgia was twentieth and eighth, respectively.

One concern for Georgia is their run defense, which was gashed by Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl. While they somewhat held Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield in check, running back Rodney Anderson compiled 201 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns. Oklahoma finished with 246 rushing yards in total. Alabama is going to watch the film and try to expose them the same way.

On the other side of the ball, Georgia does have the better running backs. Sony Michel and Nick Chubb combined for 326 rushing yards in the Rose Bowl. That’s nothing new for them, though, as that tandem has rushed for more yards than any other pair of running back teammates in FBS history (8,193).  

Georgia’s head coach, Kirby Smart, is very familiar with Alabama. He was on Alabama’s coaching staff under Nick Saban since 2007 and was the defensive coordinator from 2008-2015. He should have some good intel going up against his former team.

Alabama has been the favourite to win it all since the college football playoff odds were posted. At press time, they’re a 5-point favourite for this game (-180 on the moneyline), with a total of 45.
 

*Odds as of January, 4, 2018