If Georgia football defeats Alabama football Saturday, this is how they will have to do it.
Alabama hosts Georgia in the marquee game on the Week 7 slate that takes on a new twist with Nick Saban forced to miss the SEC showdown due to testing positive for the coronavirus.
The No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide will face the No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs in what will be the best regular-season game of the 2020 college football season. The only game that will approach this is when these two SEC foes meet again in the conference championship in Atlanta in December. Though Alabama is favored to win, here is why Georgia will be the team that is victorious.
Georgia should roll vs. Nick Saban-less Alabama
3. This is not the Alabama defense you’ve long been accustomed to seeing.
For years, Alabama has won at a very high level because of its defense. Many of the Crimson Tide’s former defensive coaches now lead Power 5 teams, including Kirby Smart at Georgia, Jeremy Pruitt at Tennessee and Mel Tucker at Michigan State. Unfortunately, they are now at a point where Pete Golding’s defense can’t stop anyone. It’s becoming a massive problem.
While Alabama has scored more points (153) than any team in the SEC, they have given up the seventh-most points in conference play (91). Though the Crimson Tide can definitely keep winning shootouts against the like of the Missouri Tigers and the Ole Miss Rebels, they end up losing at least one regular-season game this year because of its lackluster defense. It’s their Achilles’ heel.
2. Alabama will unfortunately be at a coaching disadvantage without Nick Saban.
Though offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian will do a fine job in the interim, he not only has to call plays, but he has to beat the best team in the SEC the Crimson Tide are going to play all year. You don’t want to be spread thin vs. a team like Georgia.
Saban won’t be there to clean up the mess created by Golding defensively. Though Sarkisian may still put up points on Georgia, the Crimson Tide aren’t going to be averaging 50 points a game after Saturday night. If his offense can’t score 40 points on this defense, it might leave the door wide open for Georgia to sprint through and upset the juggernaut Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny.
1. Georgia’s defense is the best in the country and the offense is just now figuring it out.
So we’ve got the best offense in the SEC (Alabama) vs. the best defense in the country (Georgia) going at it in primetime. Typically, good defense beats good offense, but this one will be played in Tuscaloosa. However, Alabama hasn’t seen anything close to what Smart and defensive coordinator Dan Lanning have working for them with ferocious hungry Dawg Georgia defense.
The pass rush is unrelenting, the run defense is punishing, the third-down defense is astute and the secondary is both tactically sound and utterly physical. No opposing quarterback has looked good vs. the Dawgs and nobody has been able to run on them either. Mac Jones and Najee Harris will have their work cut out for them against a defense that has allowed only 37 points this year.
So if Georgia is going to win this game, it will need to take advantage of a mediocre Alabama defense and enforce its will defensively on what looks to be an elite offense. It’s going to be really close, but this game will be won and lost on two or three decisions each head coach makes. Since Smart is outstanding at halftime adjustments, if it’s close after two, then UGA has got this.
Smart will beat Alabama but will have to wait to beat Saban until December at the very earliest.