2024 Alabama Football Early Opponent Preview, Game 4: Georgia

BamaCentral takes a long first look at each of the Crimson Tide's upcoming opponents this season with the Georgia Bulldogs featured next.
Georgia running back Kendall Milton (2) avoids a tackle from Alabama defensive back Malachi Moore (13) during the second half of the SEC Championship game against Alabama at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023. Alabama won 27-24.
Georgia running back Kendall Milton (2) avoids a tackle from Alabama defensive back Malachi Moore (13) during the second half of the SEC Championship game against Alabama at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023. Alabama won 27-24. / Joshua L. Jones / USA TODAY NETWORK

It's circled on everyone's calendar.

The eyes of the college football world will descend on Tuscaloosa, Ala. on September 28 as the two premier programs in the sport face off under the lights in Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Alabama and Georgia have become the two faces of college football, and it just so happens that the two states share a border. Outside of Alabama's six national championships since 2009, perhaps no program has been as dominant recently than the Bulldogs, who have won two titles of their own since 2021.

The master vs apprentice battles between Nick Saban and Kirby Smart year after year routinely decided which team would be at the top of college football that season, but with Saban's retirement, we now enter a new era of matchups between the SEC powers.

Kalen DeBoer gets an incredible test, with his first-ever SEC game coming against Georgia in Week 5 of the 2024 season. The game has already been announced as the ABC primetime game, and will undoubtedly be one of the most anticipated regular season games of the entire season.

The Bulldogs have a chance to avenge their loss from last season's SEC Championship game and re-establish themselves as the team to beat in the SEC with Saban out of the picture, while the Crimson Tide could make a massive statement that they aren't going anywhere with DeBoer at the helm.

With plenty at stake, let's dive into what Georgia will look like in 2024.


The Bulldogs return seven starters on the offensive side of the ball, namely starting quarterback Carson Beck who could have turned pro.

Beck threw for just under 4,000 yards last season, adding 24 touchdowns to just six interceptions, being named second team All-SEC at season's end. Beck's return gives Georgia one of the best returning quarterbacks in the country, as many thought he could push for being a first round NFL Draft pick had he chosen to leave school early.

However, Beck's top receiving weapons from last season's 11th-ranked passing offense are off to the NFL in Ladd McConkey and Brock Bowers. Georgia returns starters Dominic Lovett and RaRa Thomas on the outside, both of which are veterans with multiple years of significant experience. There's no replacing a generational tight end like Bowers, but Oscar Delp played well in relief of Bowers when he dealt with injuries last season.

Georgia returns four starters on the offensive line and should have one of the best units in the country, including first team All-SEC guard Tate Ratledge and second team All-SEC tackle Xavier Truss.

The strong offensive line should be able to clear plenty of pathways for Florida transfer Trevor Etienne, the only addition from the portal that should see significant playing time on the offensive side of the ball. Etienne, the younger brother of Jaguars running back Travis Etienne, ran for over 750 yards last season and scored eight touchdowns.

The Georgia offense should be a well-balanced unit, and though it may not be as flashy as other offenses, will be as efficient as any unit in the country. Last season the Bulldog offense ranked No. 5 in total offense while being in the top-20 in both passing and rushing, and it's not unreasonable to expect a similar outcome with Beck back as the signal caller, and still plenty of talent surrounding him.


Under Smart, the Georgia defense has consistently been one of, if the best in the country. The Bulldog defense has produced NFL talent rivaling the rate of Alabama in the early 2010's, and that trend isn't stopping in 2024.

On the front seven, Georgia brings back three second team All-SEC players in defensive end Mykel Williams, linebacker Smael Mondon and defensive lineman Nazir Stackhouse. All three players will have a run at a first team All-SEC level season, while Williams is garnering potential top-10 NFL Draft pick hype heading into the season.

The Bulldogs don't have a single transfer projected to start on the defensive side of the ball, which speaks to the internal development the program has been able to sustain over the course of Smart's tenure.

There's talent all over the field, with the new starters being majority former 4- and 5-star players that have developed behind NFL talent throughout their careers and now get the chance to showcase their own abilities. If it sounds like a similar pattern to how Saban's defenses were at Alabama for years, that's because Smart has built a program that looks and performs eerily similar to the way Saban ran the Crimson Tide.

Every single year Georgia is going to have an elite defense, and 2024 should be nothing different.


The way the schedule lines up, both teams get a Week 4 bye week to get an extra week of rest and preparation before the monster showdown.

Both teams have a marquee non-conference opponent in its first three games (Wisconsin in Week 3 for Alabama, Clemson in Week 1 for Georgia), but while this will be Alabama's first SEC game of the year, Georgia has a game against Kentucky in Week 3.

But what gives this matchup even more juice is the lack of divisions in the SEC this season. Any other year, Alabama and Georgia would be in different divisions so a loss wouldn't be overly detrimental to SEC Championship hopes.

Now, the teams with the top two SEC records are the teams that make the title game, so Alabama and Georgia could find themselves vying for one spot in the title game come December, and this game could end up being the deciding factor.


For many, this is going to be billed as the game of the year in the college football regular season.

With it being a primetime game and DeBoer's first major home game of his career, Bryant-Denny Stadium is going to be filled to the brim and Tuscaloosa is going to be a mad house all weekend. Similar to the Texas game last season, expect an appearance from College GameDay and whatever other shows want to come get a taste of the gameday atmosphere as thousands upon thousands pour into the city.

There's no telling what direction the game is going to go, as we've yet to see how the Crimson Tide is going to look with DeBoer in control. Alabama will likely be a slight underdog, even with the game at home, which will be unfamiliar territory for both Alabama fans and players alike.

Though the last time these two teams met, back in the SEC Championship, Alabama was an underdog and found itself besting the Bulldogs. All signs point to a game and an atmosphere that are unforgettable.

The Game


Sept. 28


6:30 p.m. CT




Bryant-Denny Stadium


Alabama leads 43-26

Last Meeting

Alabama and Georgia met in the 2023 SEC Championship on Dec. 2, 2023, a game in which No. 8 Alabama upset No. 1 Georgia 27-24 and earned a spot in the College Football Playoff. Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe scored two touchdowns in the win, earning the game's MVP.

The Team


Kirby Smart, 9th season, 94-16 record

Offensive Coordinator

Mike Bobo

Defensive Coordinator

Glenn Schumann

2023 Record

12-1 (8-0 SEC)

2023 Rankings

Total offense: No. 5; Total defense: No. 9

Returning Starters

13, 7 on offense, 6 on defense

Players to Watch

QB Carson Beck, S Malaki Starks, DE Mykel Williams, DT Nazir Stackhouse, OG Tate Ratledge, OT Xavier Truss, LB Smael Mondon, WR Dominic Lovett, RB Trevor Etienne, TE Oscar Delp

Top Newcomer

Florida transfer running back Trevor Etienne is set to take over the Bulldog backfield after recordig 753 yards and 8 touchdowns on 131 carries for the Gators last season.

Biggest Question

Can Georgia maintain its regular season dominance with a much more difficult SEC schedule? The Bulldogs have road games against Alabama and Texas, two teams with top-5 national championship odds, in addition to games against Tennessee, Ole Miss and Clemson all on the schedule this season.

The School


Athens, Ga.








Red, Black and White



The Program

Last Time Beat Alabama


Last Time Won SEC


National Championships

4: 1942, 1980, 2021, 2022

Playoff Appearances

3: 2017, 2021, 2022

Conference Championships

14: 1942, 1946, 1948, 1949, 1959, 1966, 1968, 1976, 1980, 1981, 1982, 2002, 2005, 2017, 2022

Bowl Record


Last Time Missed Bowl


Heisman Trophies

2: Frank Sinkwich (1942), Herschel Walker (1982)

2024 NFL Draft

  • TE Brock Bowers, Raiders, 1st round, 13th overall
  • OL Amarius Mims, Bengals, 1st round, 18th overall
  • WR Ladd McConkey, Chargers, 2nd round, 34th overall
  • DB Kamari Lassiter, Texans, 2nd round, 42nd overall
  • DB Javon Bullard, Packers, 2nd round, 58th overall
  • DB Tykee Smith, Bucs, 3rd round, 89th overall
  • OL Sedrick Van Pran-Granger, Bills, 5th round, 141st overall
  • DL Zion Logue, Falcons, 6th round, 197th overall

Last Four Recruiting Class Rankings

No. 1 (2024), No. 2 (2023), No. 3 (2022), No. 4 (2021)

The Schedule

Aug. 31: vs Clemson (Atlanta)
Sept. 7: Tennessee Tech
Sept. 14: at Kentucky
Sept. 28: at Alabama
Oct. 5: Auburn
Oct. 12: Mississippi State
Oct. 19: at Texas
Nov. 2: vs Florida (Jacksonville)
Nov. 9: at Ole Miss
Nov. 16: Tennessee
Nov. 23: UMass
Nov. 29: Georgia Tech

Blake Byler


Blake Byler is a staff writer for BamaCentral and primarily covers Alabama basketball and football. He has covered a wide variety of Crimson Tide sports since 2021, and began writing full-time for BamaCentral in 2023. You can find him on Twitter/X @blakebyler45.