If you’re looking for signs of optimism for Georgia’s chances in the SECCG, this piece, by a sports handicapper who writes for al.com, has some good analysis. A few examples:
- Alabama’s defense has a propensity to allow explosive plays against the run this season. Sometimes linebacker Mack Wilson will get out of position, or the safeties will take bad angles.
And forget the narrative that the problem is fixed. The Citadel’s Dante Smith authored touchdown runs of 45 and 44 yards two weeks ago, and Auburn’s Shaun Shivers broke a 75-yard touchdown run negated by a holding call that nonetheless featured some of those bad tackling angles.
- Mississippi State, for example, disrupted Alabama’s offense in the second half by constantly hitting Tua Tagovailoa.
At first glance, Georgia does not seem built to take advantage of that potential disruption. The Bulldogs rank 99th in the country in sacks, and D’Andre Walker is the only player with more than 1.5.
But Kirby Smart and his defense have started to get increasing pressure on opposing quarterbacks in the last month. The staff also is smart enough to weigh risk/reward and send timely blitzes.
- According to S&P+, Georgia’s defense is No. 2 in the country in marginal passing explosiveness. The Bulldogs arguably are the best in the country at preventing explosive passing plays.
Tagovailoa has been otherworldly at almost everything this season. But he’s merely one of the best in the country on intermediate throws. It hardly qualifies as a weakness, but he’s a less lethal version of himself on those.
Deandre Baker is perhaps the best cover corner in the country this year for Georgia. Alabama’s receivers are terrifying, but according to advanced stats, this secondary is significantly better than LSU’s this season.
Like I’ve said, Georgia isn’t chopped liver. Alabama is certainly formidable, but there are areas the Dawgs can exploit. The question is whether they can do so enough. After all, this guy concludes with, “As I said to start this post, Alabama is a better team. The Tide are likely to win, and may even win big.”