All season, Georgia, and Alabama looked like they were on a collision course to the top of college football. They played each other in the Southeastern Conference championship game in December. In that game, the Bulldogs looked a lot less like the monsters they were in their first game, but they still won. On Friday, both teams easily beat their opponents in the College Football Playoff semifinals. If the coronavirus pandemic doesn’t get in the way of the game on Jan. 10, the teams will meet again in Indianapolis to see who can win the national title.
Since Nick Saban took over the Alabama team in 2007, the team has won six national championships. Alabama, which is 13-1, now has a chance to win its sixth title since 2015. Georgia (13-1) is a team that has come close but hasn’t won a national championship since 1980. It will play in its second national title game in five years, which is a record for the team (the Bulldogs lost to Alabama in overtime in 2018).
As a result of beating Ohio State in January, Alabama had one of the most dominant seasons in college football history. The team went into the 2021 season with the rest of the country following behind.
Crimson Tide lost a few players to the NFL draught in 2020, including 2020 Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith. The Tide barely beat Florida in the SEC opener and lost to Texas A&M less than a month later, making it hard for them to live up to last season.
According to 247Sports, Georgia had the best recruiting class in the country in 2021. As the team rolled through its schedule and didn’t lose a game in conference play, it took over the top spot.
Alabama, despite its flaws, was still a top-five team when it played Auburn in the last game of the regular season. His fans were critical of his team’s flaws ahead of the Iron Bowl in late November. Saban, as always, was very stern about it.
“When I first came here, everyone was happy when we won a game,” Saban said on his radio show. “Now, we’re not happy when we win a game.”
This is what happened a week after Alabama beat Georgia in the Iron Bowl. The Crimson Tide smashed the best defence in the country, getting over 500 yards of total offence against a Georgia team that was only giving up about 250 a game. This season, the Bulldogs had only given up more than 13 points once. Before giving up 41 points to Alabama, the Bulldogs had only given up more than 13 points once this season.
Against Saban, Georgia Coach Kirby Smart is now 0-4 against the man who used to be his boss.
After the game, Smart told the media that the humiliating loss after an undefeated season didn’t do much to the Bulldogs’ mental health.
“What it did was give us a new sense of energy,” Smart said. “It puts you back where you belong.”
That was clear in Georgia’s 34-11 win over No. 2 Michigan in the Orange Bowl, which was a rough game in which the Bulldogs’ defence was almost perfect.
Quarterback Stetson Bennett said that “We knew we were better than we showed in the last game.”
A poor line of scrimmage performance in the SEC championship game led to them being bullied. The Bulldogs will have a chance to avenge that performance when they play in the game. During the whole season, Georgia didn’t have any problems getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks. The team didn’t get any sacks against Alabama a few weeks ago, though.
But even though the Bulldogs’ defence is very athletic, it will have to deal with Alabama’s offensive line at its best.
When the Crimson Tide had problems with their offensive line during the regular season, it was often because of a lack of consistency in the way the line played. Multiple mistakes in pass protection led to easy ways for Auburn’s rushers to get to quarterback Bryce Young, who was sacked a lot (he was sacked seven times).
This is not true for the conference championship game, though. Young had the time and protection he needed to find receivers downfield and make plays with his feet there. Brian Robinson Jr. set a new record for rushing as Alabama beat Cincinnati to reach the title game in the Cotton Bowl. The Crimson Tide’s offensive line made it possible for Robinson Jr.
There will be a 72nd meeting between the teams in the championship game if it isn’t thrown off by bad weather. Seven of the last eight games have been won by Alabama, and this will be the SEC’s seventh straight year with at least one team going to the championship game.
College football, even though it was affected in many ways by the pandemic, made it through most of this season before the bowl games began. However, as the highly contagious Omicron variant spread across the country, leagues changed their schedules and some bowl games were cancelled. The College Football Playoff changed its health rules in an effort to keep the most important games safe.
The Bulldogs looked like they were about to dump a cooler full of cold liquid on Michigan’s coach’s head late Friday night.
Instead of joining in on the fun celebratory gesture, Smart could be seen telling his players that they couldn’t take a quick shower.