College Football Championship Game 2018: Viewing Info, Odds and Prediction

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJanuary 7, 2018

ATHENS, GA - OCTOBER 03:  Nick Chubb #27 of the Georgia Bulldogs rushes for a touchdown against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Sanford Stadium on October 3, 2015 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Two of the three best teams in the SEC will square off in the CFB National Championship on Monday night at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

The No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs captured the SEC Championship and defeated the No. 2 Oklahoma Sooners to reach the final.

The No. 4 Alabama Crimson Tide crept into the College Football Playoff after losing to the Auburn Tigers in the Iron Bowl, but they proved their inclusion was worth it by dominating the No. 1 Clemson Tigers in the Sugar Bowl.

Georgia and Alabama's title clash will mark the fourth time they've played since 2007 and first since October 3, 2015.

              

Date: Monday, January 8

Time: 8 p.m. ET

TV: ESPN

Live Stream: Watch ESPN

Odds: Alabama (-3.5); Over/Under: 45

            

Georgia Looking for First Win over Alabama Since 2007

Georgia and Alabama haven't played often over the last decade, but when they have, the Crimson Tide have been the victorious team.

The last win by the Bulldogs over the Tide came on September 22, 2007, when Matthew Stafford threw a game-winning touchdown in a 26-23 overtime win in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. 

Since the triumph at Bryant-Denny Stadium, the Bulldogs have fallen to Alabama on three occasions, twice in the regular season in 2008 and 2015 and in the SEC Championship in 2012.

The reason for the lack of action between the two programs is the dynamic of the SEC schedule. Georgia always plays Auburn from the SEC West, which gives it one more space on its schedule to play another team from the other division in conference play.

In the last meeting on October 3, 2015, Georgia running back Nick Chubb ran for 146 yards and a touchdown while Sony Michel contributed 53 yards on nine carries in a 38-10 defeat.

Brett Davis/Associated Press

Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley also starred in the contest two years ago as he hauled in five catches for 120 yards and a score.

From the Georgia perspective, it's important that two of its biggest stars have some experience against the Crimson Tide, albeit against a different group of defenders, but it should still help ease whatever nerves are there entering the sport's biggest stage.

An argument can be that the Bulldogs are the most prepared for a clash with Alabama in quite some time because of the knowledge head coach Kirby Smart possesses from his time as defensive coordinator under Tide head coach Nick Saban.

                    

Jeremy Pruitt Coaching in Last Game Before Leaving for Tennessee

The next former Alabama assistant to oppose Saban after Monday will be his current defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, who took the head coaching job at Tennessee in December. 

Pruitt opted to stay on the Alabama staff until the end of the College Football Playoff to finish what the Crimson Tide started. 

While juggling the responsibilities of two jobs may seem difficult for someone in Pruitt's situation, he's handled it as perfectly as you can.

TUSCALOOSA, AL - SEPTEMBER 10:  Jeremy Pruitt, defensive coordinator of the Alabama Crimson Tide, looks on from the sidelines against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 10, 2016 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Pruitt's defense stifled the Clemson Tigers in the Sugar Bowl by limiting the defending national champion to 188 total yards

The 43-year-old, who previously held the defensive coordinator post at Georgia, has also delivered on the recruiting trail for the Volunteers, with 4-star linebacker JJ Peterson being the latest high school star to commit, per 247Sports.

Before he turns all his focus to the recruiting trail with the Vols, Pruitt has one more chance to help his Alabama defense wreak havoc on an opponent on the path to another national championship.

His players haven't noticed any changes to his preparation over the last month, even with the duties of another job lingering in the background.

"Right now, he has one job. He's the Alabama defensive coordinator," Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick said, per Blake Toppmeyer of the Knoxville News-Sentinel. "Once he leaves, then he's going to become the Tennessee head coach. There hasn't been any change at all. He was gone for [several days in December], but we weren't even practicing. There was no drop-off, for real."

With Pruitt preparing with an intense focus for Monday's title game, we should expect to see the same tenacity out of the Alabama defense that we've seen all season.

Prediction: Alabama 21, Georgia 17

           

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

All statistics obtained from ESPN.com.

Odds obtained from OddsShark.com.

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