4 months after the 2021 school football season began, the national championship sport is right here. This yr’s shall be an all-SEC affair, with No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Georgia squaring off a month after the Crimson Tide beat the Bulldogs by 17 within the SEC championship sport.
Their December assembly in Atlanta opened up previous questions for Kirby Sensible and the Dawgs, however they’ve an opportunity to place them to relaxation by profitable the rematch in Indianapolis. Whereas Georgia is gunning for its first national title since 1980, Nick Saban and Alabama want to go back-to-back and earn their seventh title since 2009.
Will the Dawgs lastly recover from the Bama hump? Or will the Tide’s dynasty roll on? SI’s school football writers make their predictions for Monday evening’s conflict.
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Pat Forde: Georgia 24, Alabama 20.
I am most likely being cussed right here, however I am ready to die on the Georgia hill. I’ve watched the Bulldogs play 13 dominant video games and one dangerous one—a better hit price than Alabama, though there was little doubt who was higher once they performed one another in Atlanta. Nonetheless, The harm to John Metchie III makes this a neater defensive process for Georgia, which now can tilt protection towards Jameson Williams whereas additionally with the ability to commit extra our bodies to pressuring Bryce Younger. Georgia has to get him on the bottom and/or power extra errant throws than it did within the first assembly.
I count on this to be extra of a telephone sales space sport than the final one, which devolved into Younger and Alabama’s receivers working in open house. I count on Stetson Bennett to keep away from turnovers this time. And I count on among the large holes the Canines’ offensive line was capable of open in Atlanta to lead to longer features—Alabama tackled terribly effectively after being gashed a bit on the line of scrimmage in that sport. As traditional, Georgia will get forward of the Crimson Tide. This time, it is going to keep forward. The championship wait and Bama heartache each come to an finish for the Canines.
Forde’s choose for MVP: Nakobe Dean, Georgia linebacker
In all probability ought to have been the defensive MVP of the Orange Bowl. Extremely quick and possessing good instincts, look for Georgia’s main sacker to warmth up Younger on blitzes and put a number of hits on Brian Robinson Jr.
Ross Dellenger: Alabama 27, Georgia 24
It is arduous to beat a workforce twice in a season, not to mention twice inside the span of a month. However guess what’s tougher? To beat Nick Saban in a national championship sport. That is his tenth title bout. He is misplaced two, every time to a Clemson workforce led by the very best quarterback in school football that exact season: Deshaun Watson (2015) and Trevor Lawrence (2018).
Georgia QB Stetson Bennett is not on that degree, and the Tide appear to have discovered a groove of their bludgeoning of the Bulldogs, 41–24, a month in the past within the SEC championship sport. Certain, Georgia’s protection is generational. However have you ever seen Alabama’s receivers? The Bulldogs’ secondary struggled to maintain tempo the primary time round and there is not any motive to assume it will not have extra points within the sequel (although WR John Metchie III’s absence will damage).
Give me Saban or give me dying.
Dellenger’s choose for MVP: Bryce Younger, Alabama QB
Why not choose the Heisman Trophy winner? Younger torched the Bulldogs final month, throwing for 421 yards and three touchdowns.
Richard Johnson: Georgia 31, Alabama 28
The Dawgs will lastly have their day on this sport. The query surrounding Alabama for me is that if Bryce Younger can repeat the efficiency he had within the SEC title sport on the optimistic finish and if Georgia’s protection will repeat the destructive performs that it had. Younger, much more so than Jameson Williams, needed to put fairly a bit on his shoulders whereas Alabama stormed again from an early deficit. The problem for UGA will, merely put, be getting Younger on the bottom and changing the strain it does get on him into sacks at a better price than it did within the SEC championship sport. It’s troublesome to beat a workforce twice, even for a workforce pretty much as good because the Tide, and I don’t assume Bama is 17 factors higher than Georgia on the whole.
Johnson’s choose for MVP: Stetson Bennett, Georgia QB
If Georgia wins, there’s no method that it received’t be checked out as a vindication for one Dawg particularly.
John Garcia: Alabama 28, Georgia 24
Whereas there isn’t a scarcity of storylines heading into the rematch of the SEC championship sport, the trenches come to thoughts in a battle of like-minded rosters. Each the Alabama offensive line, towards Georgia, and the Bulldogs line, towards Michigan—overachieved of their greatest matchups of the yr. Maintaining every respective quarterback upright shall be key in a sport the place few ought to count on constant working lanes towards the opposite’s elite entrance seven. It means the sport may as soon as once more come right down to Bryce Younger towards Stetson Bennett as passers, improvisers and executioners towards secondaries which have proven vulnerability at completely different factors.
Younger has a bit extra assistance on his aspect from a pass-catchers perspective, with a number of compliments to Jameson Williams, whereas Bennett will once more depend on tight finish Brock Bowers for the majority of the work. The Alabama go rush is healthier positioned to strain Bennett with out further our bodies, and the previous walk-on has been extra inclined to show the ball over in comparison with Younger prior to now. It will not be by a large margin, however among the nearer areas for comparability break Bama’s method from a personnel standpoint.
Add within the expertise underneath Nick Saban, who sometimes holds an ace within the gap for title video games, and the margins really feel extra crimson than pink and black this time round. If not now for Georgia, although, when?
Garcia’s choose for MVP: Bryce Younger
The Heisman Trophy winner was the distinction within the first matchup due to his arm, however his legs will play paramount on an evening the place the standard working sport might not have a lot success.
Extra School Football Protection:
• Movie Room: What UGA Should Do In another way This Time
• Saban’s Teaching Pivot Pays Dividends in Title Run
• Is the SEC’s CFP Dominance Unhealthy for the Sport?