6 bold predictions for the SEC title game
It’s a little bit of a downer here at the bold predictions department. We can’t forecast Vanderbilt’s unlikely offensive explosion or some 2-touchdown underdog coming up big. We’ve just got the big game that we’ve all been looking forward to all season. But that doesn’t mean we can’t go bold for the big game. Here are 6 bold predictions for Saturday’s SEC title game between Georgia and Alabama.
1. Alabama will have the best day of any opposing offense against Georgia
Yes, the Georgia defense is everything that everybody has said it is — mobile, hostile and agile. After a regular season in which the Bulldogs held half their opponents to 180 total yards or fewer, Alabama will be different. Two numbers to remember here — 17 and 387. That’s the most points and yards Georgia has allowed all season, both to Tennessee. Alabama will best both.
2. But Georgia will get to Bryce Young. Often.
In so many categories, Georgia and Alabama are at or near the top of the SEC. One difference? Let’s take a quick look at sacks allowed. Georgia has allowed 8 sacks all season, comfortably the best in the SEC. Alabama? 35 sacks allowed, 3rd worst in the SEC. Last week, Auburn got to Bama’s Bryce Young 7 times for sacks. Yes, 1 sack fewer than Georgia has allowed all year. Meanwhile, Georgia leads the SEC in total sacks with 43. A&M, LSU and Arkansas all played Alabama close (with A&M winning, of course), and each team sacked Young 4 times. Georgia will get a half-dozen sacks.
3. Georgia will have the 2nd-best day running and passing against Bama all season
Notice above, how the prediction was that Alabama would have a bigger day offensively against Georgia than anybody else? The converse is true. Alabama has allowed only 1 big rushing game all year — Florida gashed the Tide for 240 yards on the ground, with nobody else getting more than 110. Similarly, Arkansas passed for 358 yards, but nobody else had more than 300 against Bama. Georgia will rush for 150 and throw for 300.
4. 2 TDs for Bowers
The difference in this game? Possibly Georgia’s efficiency. It’ll be a big game for UGA tight end Brock Bowers, whose 10 touchdown grabs are 1/3 of the Bulldogs’ total passing game output. Bowers will grab a pair of red-zone scores to shore this game up in the 2nd half for the Bulldogs. Alabama’s defensive issues will come to the forefront when trying to cover this mammoth athlete with wide receiver speed and offensive tackle physicality.
5. Bama early, but Georgia opens up late
Based off the predictions of surprising offensive success for Alabama, look for the Tide to hold a 17-14 edge at intermission. But Georgia will crack down after the half, and the offense will open up off play-action looks for Stetson Bennett. The Tide look good early, but Georgia’s talent starts to come through in the 3rd quarter, with UGA pulling away late in a 38-20 win that carries it into the top spot in the CFP.
6. The loss leaves Alabama on the outside of the CFP looking in
Every year, chaos seems to reign in championship week. It won’t this week. Michigan, Cincinnati and Oklahoma State will all hold serve. It’s enough to knock Bama out of the CFP, perhaps not as much for the 2nd loss as for the fairly lackluster performance in other games, which was very un-Alabama.