The hotels around the Georgia Dome are likely familiar with the Alabama football program. Ever since Nick Saban took over as the head coach of the Crimson Tide, Alabama has traveled to Atlanta three times for the SEC Championship. Saban himself has coached in two additional SEC title tilts during his time with LSU, so to say that he is familiar with the area is an understatement. Only Steve Spurrier (six) has roamed the sidelines more often while playing for a title. This will be also Mark Richt’s fifth time in Atlanta, but Saban also owns a 1-0 record against the Georgia head coach in SEC championship games.
The number of times on the sidelines isn’t the reason Alabama will win Saturday’s game, however. The main reason Alabama will prevail is the man under the headset. Saban has three national titles on his resume, and he is considered to be the greatest coach of the modern era. Players from all across the country, including Richt’s main recruiting territory of Georgia, flock to play for Saban for the chance to start early and head to the NFL. When being interviewed during national all-star games, how many times do we see players whip out the Alabama hat and say they want to play for Saban? We see it way more often than the players that declare they want to play for Richt.
Those players making the declarations will also factor into Alabama’s victory. With all due respect to Georgia safety Bacarri Rambo, who earlier this week said Georgia had better talent across the board, Alabama has some real studs at the right positions that will help the Tide roll.
Quarterback A.J. McCarron has completed passes at a 67.2-percent rate for 2,507 yards with a TD:INT ratio of 25:2. The Tide also boasts a pair of running backs that have collectively eclipsed 1800 yards with Eddie Lacy topping 1000 yards. Seven different receivers have hauled in at least 10 passes and eight different receivers have snagged touchdown passes.
Up front the offensive line gives the quarterback and the running game plenty of protection as C Barrett Jones and RT D.J. Fluker are the two leaders. RG Anthony Steen, LG Chance Warmack and LT Cyrus Kouandjio help the line average 6-foot-4.5, 314 pounds apiece.
Defensively, C.J. Mosley, Ed Stinson and Adrian Hubbard live in opponent’s backfields. The 3-4 look has led to 15 forced fumbles with 11 recoveries. Defensive coordinator Kirby Smart also has the secondary ready to play and the team has recorded 16 interceptions. Robert Lester leads the team with four picks.
At the end of the day, Alabama has too much talent in the right spots with a quarterback that doesn’t make mistakes for this generation’s best college coach to lose to a Georgia team that lost a game earlier this year 35-7. While Alabama’s schedule has been just as soft, if not softer than Georgia’s, Saban brings too much to the table for the Tide to fall victim to the Upset of the Century.
To read Craig Sager II’s Why UGA Will Beat Alabama, CLICK HERE