Soon, a new college football champion will be crowned.
In a game that will feature many intriguing story lines and is sure to produce plenty of fireworks, the Georgia Bulldogs will take on the Alabama Crimson Tide for the National Championship. The Dawgs will be playing for their first championship in decades while the Tide will be looking for their fifth national championship in the Nick Saban era.
The most obvious unique aspect of this game is that it features two SEC teams. Alabama, who only lost once this season but did not earn a spot in the SEC Championship Game, dominated Clemson in the Sugar Bowl and silenced any doubt over whether they deserved to be in the College Football Playoff. Georgia coasted through a 1-loss regular season under second year coach Kirby Smart before dominating Auburn in the SEC Championship and outlasting Oklahoma in double overtime in the Rose Bowl. This will be the first meeting between the two teams since 2015, which was a dominating Alabama victory.
Keys to the Game
1. Contain Georgia’s running backs
It’s no secret that Georgia boasts the best running back stable in the country. Alabama’s monstrous front seven will need to impose their will early and often to keep the explosive Nick Chubb and the lightning quick Sony Michel out of the open field.
2. Take advantage of Georgia’s secondary
The weakest link of Georgia’s defense is its secondary. The secondary was exposed earlier in the year against Missouri and it was also dismantled in the first half against Oklahoma. Receivers like Calvin Ridley will try to find holes in Georgia’s defense in order to create some explosive plays.
3. Protect Jalen Hurts
Georgia has one of the best defenses in the country, and it is certainly a hard-hitting bunch (just ask Baker Mayfield). Alabama cannot afford to let Jalen Hurts take many sacks in this game, because Georgia’s offense thrives off of the field positioning it gets from its defense.
1. Jake Fromm’s playmaking
Freshman quarterback has been everything Georgia has needed him to be thus far, but he will be put to the test by Alabama’s dominant defense. Georgia’s running backs won’t be able to run circles around Alabama like they did against Oklahoma, so a lot of their chances in this game rely on the arm of Fromm.
2. Take care of the ball
As we saw in the Sugar Bowl, Alabama can shift the entire momentum of the game in a matter of seconds by creating turnovers. Sony Michel, who had a crucial fumble against Oklahoma, has to take care of the ball when he’s running. Jake Fromm will also need to patient in the pocket and not force throws because when Alabama comes away with an interception, it usually leads to seven points.
3. Don’t lose the coaching battle
Kirby Smart will be coaching against his former mentor, Nick Saban. Saban is one of the greatest college coaches of all time so no one is doubting what his performance will be in this game. However, in the Rose Bowl, Smart showed just how much he learned from Saban with his brilliant second half adjustments on defense against Oklahoma that played a large role in Georgia’s victory. It will be interesting to see the figurative chess match that will take place between the two colleagues.
Kickoff: 8:45 ET
Radio: ESPN Radio