After all the NCAA College College Football games played this season, we are right where (almost) everyone thought we would be after the first week.
Georgia vs. Alabama, for all the marbles.
I am officially stunned (I am not) that the two best Southeastern Conference teams have navigated their way through the 2021 campaign to face off for the College Football Playoff Championship on Monday, January 10 in Indianapolis.
Who could ever have known that Alabama would be in the final? This will be the eighth CFP final, and the Crimson Tide will be playing for the title for the sixth time: they have won three (2016, 2018, 2021; also, I will use the year of the game, not of the season), and lost two (2017 and 2019, both to Clemson, who as you will notice is not here).
In the 2018 game (after the 2017 season), Alabama beat Georgia 26-23 in overtime, as freshman Tua Tagovailoa, after taking a 16-yard sack on first down, found freshman Davonta Smith (that is future Heisman Trophy winning WR Davonta Smith, btw) on this stunning 41-yard score to win the title.
These two teams played last month in the SEC title game, after Georgia rampaged through the regular season unbeaten, while the Crimson Tide shook off a loss to Texas A&M to finish with just one loss. Alabama had the perfect game plan for the Bulldogs, and picked up a 17-point victory to ensure both teams would be playing in the playoff.
Will this game be a repeat performance? Does Alabama have the Bulldogs’ number?
Or will Georgia finish off a nearly-perfect campaign with its first title in over four decades?
Have a look below.
CFP Championship, Monday, Jan. 10
No. 3 Georgia (13-1) vs. No. 1 Alabama (13-1)
- Matchup: No. 3 Georgia (13-1) vs. No. 1 Alabama (13-1)
- Time: 8 p.m. EDT, 7 p.m. CDT, 6 p.m. MDT, 5 p.m. PDT
- TV Channel: ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNNEWS, and fubo.TV
- Last Week’s Scores: Georgia crushed No. 2 Michigan 34-11, in a game that was not as close as the final score. Alabama dominated No. 4 Cincinnati 27-6, to get back to its sixth final in eight years.
- Opening Moneyline Odds: Georgia -130, Alabama +110
- Current Moneyline Odds: Georgia -143, Alabama +125
- Opening Point Spread Lookahead Line: Georgia -2.5
- Current Point Spread Lines: Georgia -3
- Over/Under Total Opening Line: 51.5
- Current Over/Under Total: 52.5
🤕 Injury Updates: Alabama’s top wide receiver, John Metchie, is out with an ACL injury, and the Crimson Tide have some secondary issues. Both teams will have updated injury reports later this week.
Remember, with COVID-19, the status of players can change quickly, so make sure you check the injury report in the week leading up to the game.
Head To Head: these two teams played in the SEC title game last month, with Alabama winning the title 41-24 and claiming a spot in the playoff. They also met four years ago in the only overtime final, with the Crimson Tide walking it off in a 26-23 victory.
What To Watch For: these teams are obviously familiar with each other, as are the staffs. With the loss fresh in their minds from last month, can the Bulldogs find a way to turn the tables and win their first title since 1980?
Georgia’s defense has been the best in the country all year but was shredded against Alabama. The Bulldogs got some swagger back, though, as they annihilated Michigan’s attack, allowing the Wolverines just three points until garbage time. But the Crimson Tide’s defense was stellar as well against Cincinnati.
It may come down to Stetson Bennett: if the Georgia QB plays like he did in the semifinal, the Bulldogs have a big chance. You know Saban will have a game plan to limit the QB: can the Tide beat this very good Georgia team twice?
The underdog is 6-1 in the last seven meetings between the teams.
The No. 3 seeded team (Georgia here) has never won the playoff, going 0-3 in finals. Georgia lost to Alabama, Clemson lost to LSU (2020), and Ohio State lost last year to Alabama.
After not winning the first six, the top seed (Alabama here) has won the last two titles.
Prediction: I am finding it very hard to go against Nick Saban in this spot, but the Georgia defense is REALLY GOOD. I have an Alabama ticket from the beginning of the season, but I think Georgia is going to be able to move the ball this time. Georgia 31-24.