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Can Georgia Finally Beat Alabama?

January 5, 2022
Will Georgia Finally Beat Alabama in the 2022 Championship Game?

The Georgia Bulldogs haven’t won a national championship since 1980. They played for one in 2017 against this very same Alabama program. The Bulldogs lost 26-23 in overtime. Georgia is 0-for-7 against the Crimson Tide in the last seven games between the two schools. Is this finally the year?

The Bulldogs will face Alabama for the College Football Playoff national championship on Monday, January 10, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Despite their recent lack of success against Alabama, Georgia effectively dismantled Big Ten champion Michigan in a semifinal game and has been installed as a 3-point favorite on Monday night.

Can head coach Kirby Smart and his Bulldogs hold onto that favorite status and win a national title? Absolutely. Here’s why.

 

Defense

Yes, Alabama put up 41 points on Georgia in the SEC championship game. The Bulldogs still lead the nation in several defensive categories including scoring. UGA gives up 9.6 points per game and the Tide is the only team to score more than 17 points on Georgia. The Bulldogs allow just 4.01 yards per play. That’s remarkable and it’s the best in college football.

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Offensive Line

The Bulldogs offensive line allowed the fewest sacks in the SEC this season. They also paved the way for a running game that averaged 5.3 yards per carry this season. Alabama did hold Georgia to a season-low 109 rushing yards in the SEC title game, but there came a point where the Bulldogs had to abandon the run in an effort to put points on the board. Expect Georgia to run the ball better on Monday night.

 

Skill Players

Speaking of running the ball, the Bulldogs have a number of talented ball carriers that can beat you. Zamir White leads Georgia with 772 yards rushing. James Cook has 651 and Kenny McIntosh adds 324. Cook is also valuable in the passing game with 24 catches, four of them for touchdowns. 

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TE Brock Bowers is a star in the making. He has 53 catches, 859 yards, and 12 touchdowns for Georgia. The Bulldogs have a number of talented receivers, but they are likely to have George Pickens back at closer to full strength. Pickens tore an ACL in spring practice and worked his way back to catch two balls in the SEC championship. The time off since has allowed him to get even healthier.

 

QB Play

Stetson Bennett was extremely efficient in the win over Michigan completing 21 passes for 310 yards and three touchdowns. He went 29-of-48 for 340 yards and three scores against Alabama in the conference championship, but he did throw three costly interceptions. With a revamped game plan for Monday night, Bennett has what it takes to be a national championship quarterback.

 

What to Avoid

As mentioned, Georgia is 0-7 against Alabama in the last seven meetings. Smart is 0-4 against the Tide and he should take note of each of the last two games against Nick Saban and company. Last year, Georgia held a 24-20 halftime lead, but failed to move the ball early in the second half and allowed Alabama to gain momentum and, ultimately, a 41-24 victory.

In the SEC title game this year, Georgia held a 10-0 lead in the first half. Alabama got on the board with a long touchdown drive and then the Bulldogs went cold. They punted on their next two possessions giving Alabama another 10 points plus momentum. The result was another 41-24 defeat.

If the Bulldogs can avoid those types of letdowns, then yes Georgia can finally beat Alabama.

Note: It should be mentioned that 69% of the public is currently backing the Crimson Tide to the tune of 69% with five days left before game time.