College Football National Championship Preview: Georgia vs. Alabama

FootballWith the college football season coming to an end, two playoff games recently took place on New Year’s Day. The first match-up was in Pasadena, California for the Rose Bowl. The number three ranked Bulldogs of the University of Georgia and number two ranked Sooners of the University of Oklahoma battled it out for a spot in the national championship game. Going into the game, the Sooners were the 2-point favorite to win, according to ESPN.

The second match-up was in Atlanta, Georgia for the Sugar Bowl. The number one ranked team in the country, The Tigers of the University of Clemson and the number four ranked team, the Crimson Tide of the University of Alabama faced off to gain the second spot in the national championship game. The betting odds were a little bit more higher than the first matchup, the Crimson Tide were the favorites to win by eight points according to ESPN.

In the Rose Bowl, it looked like University of Oklahoma was going to win the game but Georgia fought back and brought the game into double overtime. Two players who shined in that game were Senior running backs Sony Michel and Nick Chubb. Michel carried the team on his shoulders for three quarters of the game. By the beginning of the fourth quarter, the score was all tied up. Michel lifted the team to victory and helped them gain a spot in the national championship game. Chubb covered almost 230 yards, and got touchdown runs of 75, 38 and 27 yards, plus another 145 yards and two more touchdowns, one of which was a 50-yard run.The final score was 54-48 in 2OT with the Bulldogs coming out victorious.

The Sugar Bowl was a rematch between the defending national champions, Clemson Tigers and the Alabama Crimson Tide. From the start, Alabama had complete control of the reins over Clemson. By half-time, the Tigers were held to only two field goal attempts. It was 10-6 in favor of Alabama, and the fans were in for a nail-biter of a finish. They key to Alabama’s success was their unstoppable defense. Clemson’s offense was being held up by the Crimson Tide defense and had barely anywhere to go. According to NPR, “the Tigers barely managed 100 total yards through the end of the third quarter. No Clemson rusher had more than 22 yards, and only half of quarterback Kelly Bryant’s passes found their target.” Alabama’s win put them in the national championship game against SEC rival, University of Georgia. The final score was 24-6 for the Crimson Tide.

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Source: ESPN

Crimson Tide head coach, Nick Saban is no stranger to championship games. This is his sixth title match. He has four national titles under his belt. No other coach has as much experience as him. But on the other side of the coin, Georgia’s head coach, Kirby Smart, even though it’s his first championship game, understands that Saban’s Alabama team is physical and wants to match and or top that physicality. Both teams are expected to be conservative and not turnover the football early. Both teams are just about eve from a statistics perspective. If Georgia wants to pull off the upset, they are going to have to throw the football down the field more than Alabama does. Georgia just has to get past the dominant Alabama defense and they’ll thrive. My prediction for the game is simple, I think Nick Saban is now comfortable in these types of situations. Teams who “play like” Alabama usually don’t beat Alabama. The score will be 20-17 in favor of Alabama.

All eyes will be on Georgia and Alabama, as they are set to play the College Football Playoff National Championship game on Monday night, January 8th, 2018 at 8pm under the lights of the new Mercedes-Benz Superdome in Atlanta, Georgia, home of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons. Who do you have to win? According to the Las Vegas Insider, Alabama is the favorite by 4 ½ points.

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