Coming into this season, Alabama head coach Nick Saban had never lost to a former assistant coach. That changed when Jimbo Fisher and Texas A&M beat the Tide in October. Kirby Smart will look to make that two wins by former pupils.
Georgia has been the nation's best team all season while the Crimson Tide are certainly not playing their best football in November. Alabama gets a shot to get things back on track, and the Tide are playing for their own playoff life. Alabama needs to win to secure a spot in the final four, but a Georgia win could knock Alabama out.
Here are our staff predictions.
BRYAN DRISKELL, PUBLISHER
Prediction: Georgia 23, Alabama 17
Georgia hasn't had a game closer than 17 points since the season opening win over Clemson. That will change against Alabama, but I expect the Bulldogs to continue rolling.
Alabama's offensive line has struggled during the second half of the season, and it is going to have an especially hard time against Georgia's elite front seven. Alabama rushed for just 189 combined yards in its last three games against Power 5 opponents, and the line gave up 15 sacks in those three contests. None of the defenses Alabama faced in those three contests are in the same universe as Georgia's.
Talented young quarterback Bryce Young will make his fair share of plays, but the pressure Georgia will put on him is going to result in too many mistakes and will limit their scoring potential.
Alabama's pass defense has had its issues this season, but its rush defense has been outstanding all season. After giving up 244 yards in game three against Florida, the Tide defense has given up just 63.1 yards per game on the ground. Georgia's offense is built around its ground game. Alabama should keep it in check, but Stetson Bennett will hit enough shots down the field to allow the Bulldogs to come out on top.
VINCE DEDARIO, FOOTBALL ANALYST
Prediction: Georgia 31, Alabama 21
This one is obviously must see TV. We all thought Alabama had met its match against Auburn in the Iron Bowl last week and like a Phoenix rising from the ashes somehow pulled it off in 4OT. I think the Luck of the Tide ends on Saturday afternoon. I am not saying that Georgia is without flaws, because they have them, but they have less than Alabama. I think Georgia finally takes a piece out of Bama and reigns supreme in the SEC knocking the Tide out of the CFP for 2021.
ANDREW MCDONOUGH, IB CONTRIBUTOR
Prediction: Georgia 28, Alabama 17
Georgia has not been tested since the season opener against Clemson, and play an Alabama team needing a win to make the CFP. Alabama has struggled to run the football recently, averaging only 63 YPG rushing on 1.9 YPC against SEC opponents in November. They can't be one-dimensional against a Georgia defense that enters the game as the top-ranked unit in the country and one of the most dominant in modern college football history. If the Tide are forced to rely solely on the pass, Georgia will be after to pin its ears back against the 12th ranked offensive line in the SEC in pass protection.
SHAUN DAVIS, ESPN CHICAGO
Prediction: Georgia 34, Alabama 21
As dominant as the Georgia Bulldogs have been this season, the regular season will feel empty if they fail to beat Alabama with a win in the SEC Championship game. Most don’t realize that the Bulldogs offense has averaged 40.7 PPG while the defense has surrendered 6.9 PPG.
Meanwhile, Alabama has struggled along both fronts in recent games and come into this game with injuries to key players. The Crimson Tide will be trying to win their eighth SEC championship under Nick Saban, and they will also look to avoid a second loss that could knock them out of CFP contention. Bryce Young will have the opportunity to lock up the Heisman trophy with a great performance against an all-time great Georgia defense.
Georgia’s pass defense allows just 4.9 yards per attempt, but they haven’t faced a quarterback like Young this season. Young averages 9.3 yards per attempt, and he has a dynamic tandem of receivers in Jameson Williams and John Metchie III. They will be a tremendous test for the Georgia secondary. Stetson Bennett knows this is the game where he finally proves himself as a big-time college quarterback, and he has plenty of help with a balanced rushing attack led by Zamir White and James Cook. The tandem has averaged 5.9 yards per carry combined this season. The return of wide receiver George Pickens will be a huge chess piece for the Bulldogs offense.
Will Anderson has 14.5 sacks for the Crimson Tide, and he needs a monster game for them to have any chance.
RYAN ROBERTS, RISENDRAFT
Prediction: Georgia 27, Alabama 20
Despite the inconsistencies of Alabama’s defense this season, this game still feels like a coin flip. It’s just hard to imagine Alabama moving the football consistently against Georgia after their showing against Auburn this past weekend.
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