The SEC has been the dominant conference in college football this century, and that will continue Monday night in Atlanta as it is assured another national champion with No. 3 Georgia facing No. 4 Alabama. It’s two of the top defences in the country.
College football’s first national title game, then called the BCS Championship Game, debuted following the 1998 season. Just once since had two teams from the same conference faced off for all the marbles: Following the 2011 season, Alabama beat LSU in a 21-0 snoozer after the Tigers had won the regular-season meeting and SEC title.
Alabama vs. Georgia Betting Analysis
The fact that two SEC teams played for the championship and in such a boring game infuriated pretty much everyone from outside the SEC’s footprint and spurred the introduction of the College Football Playoff. The SEC was all for the playoff as it believed it had the best shot to get two teams into the national semifinals. And this season, it did.
Georgia won the SEC title by spanking Auburn – the same Tigers team that handled Alabama the week before – 28-7 on Dec. 2 at the same Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta where Monday’s game will be held. That’s only about 70 miles from the Georgia campus, so expect a Bulldogs-heavy crowd.
These schools last played in Athens in the 2015 season, very notable because Alabama was a 1-point underdog – the only time this decade it has been a betting dog. The Crimson Tide won 38-10.
The underdog is 4-0 ATS in the past four meetings.
Alabama Crimson Tide
Alabama (12-1 SU, 6-7 ATS) was a controversial choice to even make the playoff considering it didn’t win its own SEC division. The Tide proved a worthy choice, however, in dominating No. 1 Clemson 24-6 in the Jan. 1 Sugar Bowl. Alabama managed only 261 yards of offence but allowed a scant 188 and forced two third-quarter turnovers that both led to touchdowns and broke open a 10-6 game. Having not to play an SEC title game clearly helped the Tide get healthier on defence. They rank No. 1 nationally in points allowed.
It’s the third straight national title game for Bama, which split the previous two with Clemson. Nick Saban could tie former Alabama legend Bear Bryant for the most national titles in history by a head coach with six (one of Saban’s came at LSU).
The Bulldogs (13-1 SU, 10-4 ATS) are looking for their second national championship, with the first coming in 1980. Their Rose Bowl semifinal against Oklahoma was polar opposite from the Alabama-Clemson game as it finished 54-48 in double overtime – truly one of the great NCAA games ever played with more than 1,000 yards offence. The Dawgs blocked a Sooners field goal in the second OT, and two plays later Sony Michel scored the winning touchdown on a 27-yard run.
Georgia’s defence was gashed for 531 yards by the Sooners and Heisman-winning quarterback Baker Mayfield, but UGA rushed for 317 yards and wore Oklahoma down. Michel had 181 yards and three touchdowns on just 11 carries and Nick Chubb 145 yards and two scores on 14 carries. Georgia coach Kirby Smart was a long-time defensive coordinator under Saban at Alabama (also worked for him at LSU and with Miami Dolphins prior to that), leaving after the 2015 season. Saban is 11-0 all-time against his former assistants, winning each game by at least 14 points.
Crimson Tide vs. Bulldogs Prediction