College football gets its inevitable Georgia-Alabama title rematch

Georgia, the defensive mammoth, and Alabama, the eternal juggernaut, appeared to be on a collision course at the top of college football...


Georgia, the defensive mammoth, and Alabama, the eternal juggernaut, appeared to be on a collision course at the top of college football all season.

They shot each other at the Southeastern Conference Championship in December – a game in which the Bulldogs barely looked like the juggernaut they had been since their first game. Each team beat their opponent in the college football playoff semifinals on Friday, earning the chance to meet again in the national crown game in Indianapolis on January 10 – if the game is not disrupted by the pandemic. coronavirus.

Alabama (13-1), who won six national titles under Nick Saban (he took over the team in 2007), qualified for their sixth national championship game since 2015. Georgia (13-1), a program that has come close but hasn’t won a national championship since 1980, qualified for its second national title game in five years (the Bulldogs lost to Alabama in overtime in 2018).

Alabama, after punches Ohio State in January to cap one of the most dominant seasons in college football history, entered the 2021 season with the rest of the nation in its wake.

Living up to last season’s production seemed unlikely, as the Crimson Tide – who lost a handful of players in the 2021 NFL Draft, including their 2020 Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith – barely exceeded Florida in their SEC opening and lost to Texas A&M less than a month later.

Georgia, which entered 2021 with the top-rated recruiting class in the country, according to 247Sports, took the top spot throughout their schedule and went undefeated in conference.

And Alabama, despite their inconsistencies, remained a top-five team heading into their regular season final against Auburn. The ever-stern Saban rebuked criticism from his fan base about his team’s imperfections ahead of the Iron Bowl in late November.

“When I got here everyone was happy to win a game,” said Saban. said on his radio show. “Now we are no longer happy to win a game. “

A week after their Victory at the Iron Bowl, although stagnant offensively in the game, the Crimson Tide crushed the nation’s best defense, amassing over 500 yards of total attacking against a Georgia team that allowed only about 250 yards per game. Before giving up 41 points to Alabama, the Bulldogs had allowed more than 13 points in a game only once this season.

The loss sent Georgia coach Kirby Smart, formerly an assistant staff coach for Saban, Ala, to 0-4 against his former boss.

Afterwards, Smart told reporters that the embarrassing loss after an unbeaten season had done little to harm the Bulldogs psyche.

“What it did reinvigorated our energy,” said Smart. “It refocuses you. “

This was evident in Georgia’s 34-11 loss to No. 2 Michigan in the Orange Bowl, a physical game in which the Bulldogs’ defensive unit was nearly perfect.

“We knew we were better than what we showed in the last game,” said quarterback Stetson Bennett at the post-game Orange Bowl awards ceremony.

The Bulldogs will have a chance to avenge a poor performance on the line of scrimmage where, unusually, they were intimidated in the SEC Championship game. While Georgia have had no trouble putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks all season, the team failed to record a sack against Alabama a few weeks ago.

But the Bulldogs’ athletic defense, as motivated as they get at Lucas Oil Stadium, will take on Alabama’s offensive line at its best.

When the Crimson Tide struggled offensively during the regular season, it was often because of inconsistencies in the performance of their offensive line. Against Auburn, multiple failures in pass protection gave the rushers easy ways to take down quarterback Bryce Young (he’s been sacked seven times).

In the conference title game, however, Young had the time and protection he needed to find receivers down the field and play with his feet. And against the Bearcats in the Cotton Bowl, the Crimson Tide offensive line gave way to running back Brian Robinson Jr. to rush to a career high as Alabama passed Cincinnati to advance to the game for. the title.

The championship game – if it doesn’t derail – will be the 72nd meeting between the teams. Alabama have won the last seven and this will be the SEC’s seventh consecutive season sending at least one team to the national championship game.

College football, while certainly disrupted in many ways by the pandemic, has gone through most of this season with few interruptions before bowl games begin. But as the highly contagious variant of Omicron led to an increase in the number of cases nationwide, the leagues reshuffled their schedules, several bowl games were called off, and the College Football Playoff changed its health protocols in the hope to preserve the most important games.

Late Friday night, with seconds left before their win over Michigan was finalized, the Bulldogs looked set to throw a cooler of cold liquid on the winning coach’s head.

Instead of participating in the playful celebratory gesture, Smart could be seen talking emphatically to his players, canceling their early shower attempts.

After one of their best seasons in years, a familiar foe awaits them. The work is not yet finished.

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Newsrust - US Top News: College football gets its inevitable Georgia-Alabama title rematch
College football gets its inevitable Georgia-Alabama title rematch
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