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Bring on the rematch.
Alabama and Georgia rolled over Cincinnati and Michigan, respectively, in Friday’s College Football Playoff semifinals, setting up an all-SEC CFP National Championship.
Georgia will be seeking its revenge for a 41-24 loss to the Crimson Tide at the SEC Championship. They’ll have their chance at Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium on Monday, Jan. 10 at 8 p.m. ET (ESPN and the ESPN app).
Early odds favor Georgia, albeit narrowly:
There isn’t much doubt that these are the two best teams in college football. Alabama easily handled Cincinnati, 27-6, showing a different dimension to its offense than the usual dominance of Bryce Young and the passing game, as the offensive line and running back Brian Robinson Jr. led the Crimson Tide to 301 total rushing yards.
Putting up those types of numbers on the ground against a Georgia team that held Michigan to 84 rushing yards on Friday won’t be easy. The Wolverines were grinding teams to dust with its running game, averaging 223.8 yards per game on the ground. They put up 297 rushing yards on Ohio State and 211 on Iowa to close the season.
And Georgia barely gave them an inch.
In the first game between the teams, it was Alabama’s speed on the outside and ability to protect Young that was the difference. Jameson Williams caught seven passes for 184 yards and two scores. John Metchie III added six catches for 97 yards and a touchdown before exiting in the second quarter with a knee injury that turned out to be a torn ACL.
Metchie wasn’t a big loss against Cincy—the Bearcats have fantastic corners but were beat in the trenches—but against a physical Georgia defense, establishing the run game will be far more difficult. The Crimson Tide rushed for a more modest 115 yards in the first meeting between the teams.
Dan Wolken @DanWolken
Georgia didn’t lose to Bama because they were physically overwhelmed. They had a bad gameplan and played poorly. Both teams will adjust and it will be a different game this time. https://t.co/XlmHpyZzIi
Quarterback play will be another major factor.
Young played virtually flawless in the first game, throwing for 421 yards, three scores and zero turnovers. Stetson Bennett, meanwhile, threw two costly interceptions.
And there’s always the Nick Saban factor. Under Kirby Smart, Saban’s former assistant, the Bulldogs are 0-4 against the Crimson Tide, including two losses in the SEC Championship and a loss in the 2017 National Championship Game.
Does Georgia’s lack of recent success against Alabama play a factor from a mental standpoint? Or will Georgia be all the more hungry for the rematch?
It’s going to be a fantastic way to end the college football season.
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.
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