If this national championship looks a little familiar to you, well, then you probably live in the Southeast.
Alabama vs Georgia Live
The 2017 national title game (Monday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN) is an all-SEC affair between No. 3 Georgia and No. 4 Alabama. It’s a clash of teams with similar styles, similar coaches and players who come from similar places. For all intents and purposes, this is a second SEC title game with just a bit more at stake.
“Each time I play an SEC game, I know what type of game I’m going to get,” said Alabama linebacker Rashaan Evans. “It’s going to be a physical game. I’m going to go against great athletes. It’s going to be a great challenge.”
The Bulldogs and Crimson Tide haven’t played since Kirby Smart arrived in Athens, but we can take away plenty from both teams’ tendencies heading into this game. These are five matchups that will dictate this contest. There’s also a prediction below, for those interested in those types of things.
This is a standard highlight in high-profile matchups such as these, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less critical. Georgia’s offensive line went from weakness to strength this season, and that group’s fueled the Bulldogs’ stellar running game and the success of Jake Fromm. But as Alabama showed last week against Clemson, it can dominate games when its front is playing well. The loss of Anfernee Jennings (knee) will hurt the Tide, especially against the run, but it’s still going to be up to Georgia’s offensive line to stem a ferocious front and the nation’s top-ranked defense. Alabama is going to funnel defenders into the box in order to stop the run. Da’Ron Payne is the Crimson Tide’s top-graded PFF College player (85.5), and his bulk will seriously challenge Georgia center Lamont Gaillard, who grades out as the nation’s 11th overall center.
That matchup within this matchup is huge because it’ll dictate Georgia’s rushing efforts up the middle. If the Bulldogs’ rushing attack is forced outside with frequency, it’s going to be hard for them to contend with Alabama’s overall sideline-to-sideline speed.