TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Finally, we’re only one day away from the most important conference championship.
No. 1 Alabama and No. 4 Georgia will square off in the SEC Championship Game on Saturday afternoon. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. on CBS.
Depending on where you check, many pundits believe Alabama could lose, but don’t let Nick Saban hear that.
After missing out on the SEC title game last year for the first time in three years, Alabama’s players are excited to be back and eager to reclaim the crown they held from 2014-16.
This post was supposed to rundown of five reasons Alabama will win the SEC Championship Game, but five isn’t really necessary.
Alabama is just better. You read that right. Alabama is a better football team than Georgia.
The rest of this piece is in no way written to disrespect the Georgia Bulldogs, because they are one of the top teams in the country. Only problem for them is, Alabama is the best team in the country.
Few, if any statistics, favor the Bulldogs in this matchup.
Alabama scores more (49 points to 40.1 points) and they stop people from scoring more (13.8 to 17.2).
Alabama has an elite pass rush, while Georgia is the exact opposite. Alabama leads the SEC and is No. 5 in the nation with 40 sacks. Georgia is tied for 12th in the league with just 20. Only South Carolina has fewer with 19.
Tua Tagovailoa is a better quarterback than Jake Fromm in every way.
Tagovailoa leads the nation in collegiate passer efficiency at 212.5, and his 146.5 NFL passer rating ranks first among all FBS quarterbacks with at least 230 attempts. The sophomore is No. 2 in ESPN’s Total QBR metric at 94.7 (out of 100). Tagovailoa has thrown for 3,189 yards on 189-of-269 passing (70.3 percent) with a school-record 36 touchdowns and 2 interceptions while rushing 45 times for 211 yards and 5 scores.
Fromm has thrown for nearly 1,000 fewer yards, 12 fewer touchdowns and 3 more interceptions.
The one thing Georgia can hang its hat on is the running game. D’Andre Swift and Elijah Holyfield are one of the top running back duos in the country, if not the best.
Holyfield has rushed for 896 yards and Swift for 962. Swift has had 100 yards in four of Georgia’s last five games.
But Alabama is stout against the run, holding teams to 3.3 yards per carry and an SEC-best 6 rushing touchdowns.
If Alabama is shutting down Georgia’s run game, it’s hard to envision a scenario in which the Bulldogs have a chance of winning this game.
Looking more closely at Georgia’s defense, the Bulldogs thrive on taking away big plays. They don’t rush the passer well, but they do play coverage and take away anything over the top.
Thing is, Tagovailoa is great at taking what the defense gives, and he’s ready for whatever UGA tries to take away.
“We’re going to take what they give us,” Tagovailoa said. “If it’s the flat all game, then we are going to take the flat. Whatever their defense gives us, we’re going to take it.”
That mind-set is what makes Tagovailoa a special player. Not only is he talented, he’s also smart enough to not force it. Tagovailoa also knows Alabama’s receivers and running backs are capable of making defenders miss and making plays in space.
That’s going to be one of the top matchups to watch: Can Georgia’s secondary contain Alabama’s receivers? If not, this one could get ugly.
We can spend countless hours breaking this one down, but it all comes down to one thing: Alabama is objectively better than Georgia, and unless something crazy happens, Alabama should win this one handily.