Have I mentioned how surreal the advance SECCG talk is? I can’t get used to the concept of not only Georgia being the favorite (that happened in 2015, remember?) but that concept not feeling fluky.
For one thing, the pressure is going to be on Saban’s team this time around.
Still, if the Crimson Tide win at Auburn in Saturday’s Iron Bowl, they’ll have more at stake when they play the Bulldogs a week later. Unless Alabama knocks off Georgia again, it won’t be assured of getting to the CFP. A two-loss team has never made the playoff, and it’s hard to imagine the Tide being the first, especially without winning a conference title, regardless of how high they might be in the selection committee’s rankings on Tuesday night.
Make no mistake: Alabama will more than likely be at its best in Atlanta, and it will be another back-and-forth contest between Saban and Smart, his former defensive coordinator. Tide receivers Jameson Williams and John Metchie will test Georgia’s secondary, and Bryce Young’s scrambling ability will help keep the offense on the field.
As good as Georgia has looked this season, finally beating Alabama has been the elephant-sized hurdle staring the Bulldogs in the face since early September. Knocking the Tide out of the playoff might be Georgia’s clearest path to ending a 41-year drought without a national title.
For another, Kirby Smart sounds like a man whose testicles aren’t retracting at the thought of taking down his mentor.
“I don’t have any doubt that we can play with Alabama, we’ve done it three times,” Smart told ESPN in the preseason. “We’re just as good as them, and we’ve gone toe-to-toe with them.”
Now, if he can get his team to play like that for a full 60 minutes this time…