ESPN College GameDay 2018: TV Schedule and Predictions for Week 14 Location

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistNovember 30, 2018

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (13) drops back to pass against Auburn during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)
Vasha Hunt/Associated Press

Like clockwork, ESPN College GameDay next heads for the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta, a showcase between the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide and the No. 4 Georgia Bulldogs.

This on the heels of Ohio State's 62-39 thumping of Michigan, an upset in a historic rivalry game with plenty of weight on the College Football Playoff itself.

Ditto for Saturday, which doubles as a title-game rematch between a pair of powerhouses that look mighty familiar. Georgia has embraced the Alabama way and sports only one loss coming into the matchup. Nick Saban's Crimson Tide, meanwhile, are undefeated.

                 

College GameDay Week 14 Info

Date: Saturday, December 1

Time (ET): 9 a.m. to noon; game is at 3:30 p.m.

Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Watch: CBS

Live Stream: CBSSports.com

                

Preview

Interestingly enough, outside of the winning, it might be Alabama that has changed the most between the two title-game participants.

The Crimson Tide sport a new-look offense built around quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. He has completed 70.3 percent of his passes with 36 touchdowns against just two interceptions. He's added in another complementary 211 yards and five scores on the ground.

As a result, he has individual honor chances and has rewritten some notable numbers at Alabama:

Alabama looks similar to units of old in many ways. The running game boasts a 5.3 yards-per-carry average with 28 touchdowns, with three players sitting on north of 400 rushing yards and at least four scores.

Don't forget the defense, which has restocked talent once again and, in the process, allowed north of 21 points in a game just once this season—the 31-point allowance came in a game in which the offense scored 65, so who's counting?

Despite all this, Saban isn't shy in praising the opposition.

"Georgia is one of the most complete teams in the country," Saban said, according to STATS LLC (via ESPN.com). "They haven't really, like, dramatically changed. I think they've made a lot of improvement. I think their efficiency on offense has been very good all year long."

Georgia has put up more than 40 points per game on average while coughing up fewer than 20. The Bulldogs look like the Crimson Tide used to on offense, rushing 498 times to just 282 passing attempts, racking up 3,118 yards and 29 touchdowns on a 6.3 yards-per-carry average in the process.

Six Bulldogs have rushed for multiple touchdowns this year and five with 39 or more attempts average six or more yards. This has made life easy on quarterback Jake Fromm, who has completed 69.1 percent of his passes with 24 touchdowns and four interceptions while throwing multiple scores in seven games. 

Georgia's only stumble this year was an ugly one, a 36-16 road loss to LSU. But it seemed to serve as a wake-up call, as the Bulldogs have scored more than 30 in four of five since and allowed more than 21 once. D'Andre Swift has more than 100 rushing yards in four of his past five outing, with the exception being a nine-carry day in a 66-27 rout of UMass.

Other than the interesting chess pieces, this one has seemingly unlimited storylines, mostly on the Bulldogs side. They play this one close to home, have an entire season riding on it, Fromm was a former Alabama commit and they have the revenge angle after last year's title-game loss.

So, no, the ESPN College GameDay's destination was never in doubt.

                      

Prediction

John Bazemore/Associated Press

While the above narratives sound good, oddsmakers aren't buying it—the Crimson Tide sits as the favorite here by a whopping 14 points, according to OddsShark.

It's a good time to like an underdog, though, as Georgia has been proficient all year outside of the LSU game and has the perfect way to counteract Tagovailoa.

Alabama, on the other hand, started off the season rough in terms of run defense. It took a rebound over the second half of the season, but one could argue no opponent the rest of the way challenged Saban's defense in the way the Bulldogs have.

In January, Tagovailoa caught the Bulldogs off guard. They are ready this time, close to home and seeking revenge, which should be enough to propel the ball-controlling offense to a win.

Prediction: Georgia 28, Alabama 24

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