It’s game day. Tonight decides what college football team will be national champions. This will be the fourth year of the NCAA using the playoff format. It will be a familiar face of it against a new one. The Alabama Crimson Tide are set to face the Georgia Bulldogs.
The historic career of Nick Saban continues as he is looking for his sixth national championship. Kirby Smart, an ex-defensive coordinator for Saban, will be looking for his first. This is the first time that two teams from the same conference face off in the big game. Alabama and Georgia are both from the SEC, know to some as the best conference.
The Crimson Tide had yet another great season. They finished 11-1 in the regular season with their only loss coming against their rivals, the Auburn Tigers. This team is still dominant and will be looking to send a lot of players to the NFL yet again. Alabama beat the Clemson Tigers on New Year’s Day to get to the championship. They dominated that game as they beat the number one seed by a score of 24-6. This will be ‘Bama’s third straight stint in the national championship game.
The mastermind behind Alabama’s offense is Brian Daboll. This is Daboll’s first season at Alabama as Steve Sarkisian left for the NFL in the offseason. The mold of this offense hasn’t changed much though. That mold is to run the ball down the opponents throat. The Crimson Tide did not have a single 1000-yard rusher but did have three people over 500 yards. The leading rusher was Damien Harris, who had 983 yards and 11 touchdowns. The next to follow was the quarterback, Jalen Hurts. The quarterback is a scrambler as he finished with yet another season over 800 yards. The team finished with over 3,300 yards rushing which ranks tenth in the nation.
The passing game saw an improvement this year regarding giveaways. After a nine-interception season for Hurts last year, he only threw one interception this year. He also had over 2,000 yards passing with 17 touchdowns. Of those 2,125 passing yards, just under 50 percent of them were taken in by Calvin Ridley. Ridley finished with 935 touchdowns and four touchdowns. He is looking like a first-round lock for this upcoming draft. Alabama’s line gave up 24 sacks which tied for 52nd in the NCAA.
Alabama is known for their tough, physical defense. ‘Bama has ranked first yet again in points and yards allowed. The coordinator of Alabama’s defense in Jeremy Pruitt. Pruitt has recently accepted the head coaching job of Tennessee. There is an enormous amount of NFL talent on this roster. The most notable being safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. This team is just downright ferocious and has the ability dominate any college offense in the nation.
The Georgia Bulldogs are back after a down year. Kirby Smart took over as the longtime coach, Mark Richt, decided to take the job at Miami. This is the first time they have been this good since 2012 when they were ranked fifth in the nation. It is also the first time the Bulldogs got to play in the College Football Playoff format. The ‘Dogs went 11-1 in the regular season and later became the SEC champions.
The coordinator for the Bulldogs is Jim Chaney. This is Chaney’s second year as Georiga’s coordinator. Georgia is led by their three-headed monster in the backfield. The combination of Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, and D’Andre Swift is a true force to be reckoned with. The three combined for 3,052 yards on the ground and 34 touchdowns. Chubb is the most notable of them as he led the way with 1,320 yards and 15 touchdowns. He is one of the top running backs going into the draft.
Georgia’s quarterback is true freshman quarterback, Jake Fromm. The third-ranked pro-style quarterback coming out of high school is showing why he was ranked that high. The true freshman was taking college football by storm this year with his excellent play. He has 2,383 yards passing with 23 touchdowns to go with five interceptions. His ability to disect defenses is going to make him a high pick in the NFL one day. Fromm’s leading receiver was Javon Wims as he had 704 yards and seven touchdowns. Georgia’s line held up well this year as they ranked 19th in the nation with 18 sacks allowed.
The coach of the defense is Mel Tucker. Tucker is also in his second year with the Bulldogs. Just like Alabama, Georgia also has one of the best defenses in the nation. Georgia ranked sixth in total defense and fifth in scoring defense. The defense is led by the junior linebacker, Roquan Smith. He is not only the best linebackers in the nation, but he is also one of the best overall defenders in the nation.
This game is looking to be a nail-biter. Two powerhouse teams with balanced rosters going at each other. A big factor is the location of the game. The game is going to be at Mercedez-Benz Stadium which is located in Georgia. About 70 miles away from Georgia University to be specific. Alabama isn’t too far away either as it is 200 miles from the Falcons home stadium. This stadium is going to be pumping with Georgia fans, making it harder for the Alabama players.
Georgia also has the clear advantage on offense. They possess the better quarterback and running backs. This game is looking to be a high scoring game. Alabama has struggled against some good offense, though they did rebound last week against Clemson. Georgia has also had some trouble against some top-notch opponents. This Georgia offense is too good for Alabama’s great defense. The ability to both pass and run the ball is going to be the deciding factor in tonight’s game.