College season is heating up, and we’ve had some wild days. Who goes into the playoffs? What happens on the coach carousel? And who are the best players in the upcoming draft? Five theses.
Alabama vs. Georgia is the anticipated final
The biggest duel next weekend will be the SEC Championship Game. The mega duel between defending champion Alabama and the still undefeated Georgia. Although the two teams are currently “only” ranked 1 (Georgia) and 3 (Alabama) by the playoff committee, few doubt that these two teams are the two best and most complete teams in college football from top to bottom.
For the third time in four years, these two teams face each other in the SEC Finals, and Alabama has always lived up to its role as favorite. The duel this year, however, has changed signs. Georgia is the favorite, Alabama has their backs to the wall.
Georgia is the only team that can already be sure of its playoff participation. The Bulldogs have drained the competition so far, skipping the almost-traditional, unnecessary loss under head coach Kirby Smart this year. If you lose, you would slip down to 4th place at most.
The great strength of the team is their elite defense. Jordan Davis and company are on course to become one of the best college units of all time. They only allow six points per game. Only Tennessee and Kentucky could score two touchdowns against this defense in one game. In eight of twelve games, the opponent scored no more than seven points.
At all positions, Georgia’s defense is filled with former top recruits who will soon make the NFL unsafe. The game against rival Florida showed how much they can put their stamp on a game: At a score of 3-0, the defense provided three turnovers, including a pick six. Only 2 minutes later it was 24:0, the game was over.
Offensive is all about the running game. Like last season, smart and offensive coordinator Todd Monken fell back in love with former walk-on Stetson Bennett and benched JT Daniels, the actually considerably talented quarterback. After all, Daniels was the starter at the beginning of the season, but a minor injury gave Bennett the chance, which he didn’t waste with this almost legendary defense in the back.
As in the previous year, there is not too much going on in the passing game, but an armada of high-class running backs is waiting for their touches. Zamir White, James Cook, Kenny McIntosh, Kendall Milton – the list goes on. Georgia has already raked in 28 touchdowns this season without a single running back having to rush for 700 yards.
Since the offense gets a lot of ball possession opportunities from their defense, they always end up with more than enough points. However, if the defense can’t suffocate the opponent, it will be exciting to see whether Bennett can also play his part in the success.
Alabama vs. Georgia 2021 – it doesn’t get any better!
Alabama’s offense will have to deliver something for that. After a hot start to the season, however, it has cooled down considerably. Against Auburn in the Iron Bowl, Nick Saban’s team went the entire first half without a point, a Crimson Tide that hasn’t happened since 2000.
Bama’s O-Line, in particular, shows weaknesses not seen in a Tuscaloosa blocking unit in nearly a decade. The running game has been dormant for weeks and quarterback Bryce Young is barely left with time in the pocket. Georgia’s passr rushers around Nakobe Dean are already licking their fingers.
It’s reasonable to expect that Nick Saban and offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien will find a way to buy Young some extra time. Rollouts, pocket moves and lots of RPOs can be expected on Saturday. With just about enough throwing time, Young is perhaps the best quarterback in college football. And in John Metchie and especially Jamison Williams, he has two very dangerous weapons at his side. If this offense finds its groove early and makes this game a shootout, I’d bet my money on Young over Bennett.
For Young, this game should also determine his Heisman ambitions. If he can beat that dominant defense, he’s guaranteed college football’s most important individual award. If he weakens, he opens the door for the candidates behind him like Ohio States CJ Stroud, Kenny Pickett or Kenneth Walker.
And: Alabama has to win. If the team loses, it will be very, very difficult to slip into the playoffs in fourth place. Against Auburn, Bama jumped off the shovel in the 4th overtime of the playoff end. So you can deal with pressure. But is that enough against this over-defense?
Georgia vs Alabama – it should be epic again. Alabama has to win, Georgia can eliminate perhaps the biggest title contender before the playoffs. Georgia’s dominant defense against Saban, Young and Co – it doesn’t get any better!