Winner of this game punches their ticket to the National Title, and an opportunity to knock off the Irish. Many people are considering this the actual National Championship game. Either way, this is going to be an awesome game. Hide yo kids, Hide yo wife…it’s going to be a battle.
The question becomes, how does Georgia keep this one within a touchdown? How do they score? How do they stop freight train that is Bama?
First, UGA has the most balanced offense, skill-wise, that Bama has seen all season. They have two great freshman running backs with Gurley and Marshall. This feature alone will open up play action for Georgia. It DOES NOT matter whether or not UGA is picking up 5 yards a clip or 3, Bama and the coaching staff have to respect their running game. What this does is open up play-action, which can be lethal for Alabama.
One of the reasons why they lost to A&M (that doesn’t include McCarron playing like a fool) was the fact that Manziel is a duel threat. It wasn’t that he set up play action, but the fact that the LB and corners had to always keep an eye on if he was taking off or not. It opened up his receivers and he was able to find space. Georgia being as balanced as they are, will attempt to do the same thing.
Bama’s weakness (if they have one) is their secondary. This will be the best pure passer Bama has seen, and I think it is time that Murray steps up and plays well in a big game. This could likely be the last game of his career, so he should come out slinging here. What can disrupt Murray is if he gets pressured. I do see Bama’s front 7 being able to penetrate the young OL, but keep in mind, they are more worried about giving up the big play, which Murray will be able to provide. Dee Milner will keep Mitchell wrapped up, but Murray has been very liberal about his pass distribution, so I believe any target is more than capable.
The reason why I am more skeptical about this Bama team than last year is the absence of Trent Richardson. Yeldon and co. are great, great, RBs, but they do not command the same respect Richardson did. Bama is not a team that scores in less than 90 seconds, like Oregon. They grind it out. They get in 3rd and short and they convert about 48%. All in all, powerful offense, but not scary.If a team can get a few scores here, preferably early (a la A&M), they can cover and possibly win.
Georgia’s defense has been the most disappointing aspect of their team for me this year. The reason I locked in a 17/1 future bet on UGA was because the skill level of their defense, returning 9 starters, 2 all-americans. They FINALLY are starting to look solid. Bama will have to worry about someone on every level of this defense, with Olgetree, Jarvis and Rambo. They haven’t had to deal with that yet. I think UGA’s defense will step it up. The UGA defense is every bit as talented as Bama’s or Florida’s, and they are finally starting to play like it.
Not only that, but UGAs Defensive Corodinator is Todd Grantham, who is fromt he Saban coaching tree. He runs a 3-4 defense, the same that Bama does. The key here in the 3-4, and Grantham will focus on it, is to make sure that the Center isn’t blocking the nose tackle 1 v 1. If he is, the other OL can engage the LB, opening up huge running lanes. Barret Jones is one of the best centers in the game, but Grantham will definitely focus on this.
When it comes down to it, we have two of the most talented defense’s in the nation. We have one team that is a bit better coached and grinds it out on offense, against the other team that can strike at any point in the game with a bit of a crazier defense.
I see UGA redeeming themselves from last years game. Murray will play better, the D will play better and they will give Bama a test. If I trusted Richt at all to make halftime adjustments, I’d lay some on the ML here. But I don’t. If you’re ND, I think the smart decision is to root for Bama here.
Bama 24 UGA 20