On Monday night, the Georgia Bulldogs will take on the Alabama Crimson Tide in the College Football Playoff National Championship at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The Bulldogs will hope to bring home their first title since 1980, while the Tide will attempt to win its fifth title in the last 10 years.
This year’s title game is likely to be a defensive showdown. Both teams boast two of the top defenses in the country. Georgia’s defense is led by its returning seniors, outside linebackers Davin Bellamy and Lorenzo Carter, and Butkus award-winning inside linebacker, junior Roquan Smith. Alabama’s depth at linebacker has powered its defense this year amid many injuries throughout the season.
Georgia and Alabama are neck and neck in terms of points allowed to other teams by the defenses this season. Alabama allowed 13.00 points per game, while Georgia allowed 15.71 points to opponents per game.
Both teams also have powerful rushing attacks. The two teams have both been fueled primarily by their running game on offense. Georgia, led by senior running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, has tallied 3,743 rushing yards this season. Alabama has accumulated 3,325 rushing yards behind running backs Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough and dual-threat quarterback Jalen Hurts.
Perhaps one of the most compelling storylines in the game is the battle between master and protégé. Georgia head coach Kirby Smart worked under Alabama head coach Nick Saban at Alabama as defensive backs coach in 2007 and defensive coordinator from 2008 to 2015. Smart also worked under Saban before he came to Alabama, when he was the defensive backs coach at LSU in 2004 and the Miami Dolphins safeties coach in 2006.
Saban has faced his former assistant coaches 11 different times and is 11-0 in those matchups. However, people are bound to continue to be fascinated by this storyline, wondering if this game could be the time that Saban finally loses to one of his former assistants.
While many people across the country may be upset that the National Championship is between two Southeastern Conference teams, this matchup is sure to be a great one between two of the nation’s best teams, filled with exciting storylines. The two teams will battle for SEC supremacy. Alabama has controlled the SEC throughout the recent past, but Georgia is on the move and poised to claim the top spot in the SEC with the No. 1 recruiting class for 2018.
Georgia will beat Alabama and claim the top spot in the SEC and the nation, at least for the time being. True freshman quarterback Jake Fromm has the intangibles needed to succeed in the spotlight, as he has proven time and time again at Notre Dame, in the SEC Championship and in the Rose Bowl. Alabama has appeared beatable at times this season, and Georgia’s defense will shut down the Alabama offense when it matters most. This game has the makings of a defensive showdown, though, so prepare for a tight, low-scoring game.