SEC Championship Preview
The No. 1 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide (12-0) will take on the No. 5 Georgia Bulldogs (11-1) this Saturday to determine the 2018 SEC Champion.
Both of these teams are competing for a College Football Playoff berth. Alabama, per usual, has cruised to the SEC championship without finding a team that could even compete with them.
Georgia has also been a dominate team. Their only loss was to LSU in Death Valley, which is by no means a bad loss.
But make no mistake, outside of maybe LSU, the Bulldogs are the most talented team they have faced yet. However, Tua Tagovailoa does have some experience playing this team in the post season.
Last year, Tagovailoa was told he was going to play the second half in the National Championship against the Bulldogs. The five-star recruit, about a year after signing his letter of intent, was playing on the biggest stage in collegiate football. The freshman threw for three touchdowns against a talented Bulldog defense that featured first-round linebacker Roquan Smith.
Now, the sophomore is no longer the backup and now is the focal point of this team. He will face this Bulldog defense yet again, but instead of playing against a Butkus Award winner and All-SEC Linebacker, he now has the challenge of going against one of the SEC’s most skilled corners in Deandre Baker.
Georgia’s defense has been one of the best in the country this year, and Baker has had huge role in that. Pro Football Focus has given him an overall grade of 90.7 as of November 14.
Baker, depending on Georgia’s game plan, should shadow Alabama’s electric widereceiver Jerry Jeudy. If Baker can eliminate Jeudy from this lethal passing attack, which not even future first-round corner Greedy Williams could do, Alabama still has a plethora of weapons that could give Georgia problems: Damien, Najee Harris, Jaylen Waddle, Irv Smith Jr., Henry Ruggs III. It doesn’t matter.
Alabama is normally expected to utilize the ground game in this situation. It should make sense considering the backfield of Najee and Damien Harris have been great all season and Georgia’s strength is its passing defense, but that’s not Saban.
Expect Saban to attack this secondary, force them to make plays and to draw up passing concepts that will exploit the mismatches they have. Remember: Saban had the guts to pull his starting QB out of the game in the biggest game of the season.
If Georgia wants to hand this explosive Alabama team its first loss they need to make plays in the first half. Alabama and Tagovailoa have shown they come out of the gate slow. If you need any evidence of this refer to the Citadel game.
Jake Fromm will need to get in a rhythm, Deandre Swift will need to pick up yards on early downs so that Georgia can keep the chains moving and avoid coming out in personnel that isn’t suitable enough to protect Fromm from an Alabama defensive line that is likely to have multiple draftees come April.
Score Prediction: Alabama 38 Georgia 24
Ben Borus is a freshman studying Advertisement and Public Relations. To contact him, email email@example.com.