College Football Championship 2022: Picking Winner for Georgia vs. AlabamaJanuary 3, 2022
College Football Championship 2022: Picking Winner for Georgia vs. Alabama
It's deja vu all over again in the College Football National Championship Game in 2022. The Georgia Bulldogs and the Alabama Crimson Tide will run back their SEC Championship Game matchup with all the marbles on the line this time around.
The Crimson Tide punched their ticket to the College Football Playoff with a 41-24 win over the Dawgs in Atlanta.
It was a must-win game for the Tide as they already had a loss to Texas A&M on the ledger. A second loss would have likely taken them out of the playoff picture. But head coach Nick Saban generally finds a way to win big games. His team pulled off the upset that weekend and took care of business against Cincinnati in the semifinal.
While giving up 41 points to the Tide raised questions about the validity of the Bulldogs' vaunted defense, their performance against Michigan served as a reminder. They controlled the line of scrimmage, only giving up 3.4 yards per carry while picking off Cade McNamara twice.
All told, Michigan scored just 11 points.
So who wins the rematch? Let's take a look at the cases for both and make a prediction from there.
The Case for Alabama
The case for the Crimson Tide is pretty simple. They can win this game because they've already beaten Georgia once.
As good as the Georgia defense is, Bryce Young was simply better when the two teams met at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. He threw for 421 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions while also providing help with his legs. He had 40 yards and a touchdown on just three carries.
There's a reason he won the Heisman Trophy, and while Young didn't have the gaudy stats against Cincinnati, he still tossed three touchdowns.
This Crimson Tide defense isn't at the same level as some of its predecessors. But it was still good enough to shut down Georgia's rushing attack in the first game. James Cook and Zamir White were held in check with a combined 65 yards on 18 carries.
That put the game in Stetson Bennett's hands, and though he had 340 yards through the air, he also threw two costly interceptions.
The Crimson Tide won the game by controlling the line of scrimmage, forcing some turnovers and torching the Georgia secondary. That's a game plan they can go back to on January 10.
The Case for Georgia
First of all, rematches in college football produce a different winner right around half of the time. So while it's pretty easy just to say, "well, Alabama won the first one, so it'll win this one," that's not in line with how these things have played out.
Rematches can be different for any number of reasons, but a major one is injury. That will be the case in this one as the Tide will be without John Metchie III. The receiver posted six catches for 97 yards and a touchdown against Georgia in the SEC title game.
His presence made it more difficult to scheme against Jameson Williams, who torched the Dawgs secondary to the tune of seven catches for 184 yards and two touchdowns.
Alabama is still Alabama. When one extremely talented player goes down, there's another one to take his place. Ja'Corey Brooks stepped up for Bama in the Cotton Bowl, and he will still pose a threat, but there's a chance Georgia will fare better against the Alabama passing attack with Metchie out of the lineup.
Offensively, Cincinnati's ability to get Jerome Ford loose for 5.1 yards a carry is a sign Georgia can have success against the Alabama defensive front.
Georgia's defense is too talented to give up 41 points against Alabama for a second time. With Metchie out of the lineup, more of the burden is going to fall on the Tide's running game.
That worked against Cincinnati. With the passing game held to reasonable numbers, Alabama went to its bully-ball roots. Brian Robinson Jr. had 204 yards, while the rushing attack had 301 yards as a whole.
Alabama didn't have that kind of success running the ball against Georgia. When you take out Young's 40 yards on three carries, the Tide averaged 3.2 yards per carry.
With the advantage of a fresh start, the Bulldogs should have a better game plan to slow down Williams and Young while still shutting down the run.
On offense, they'll have to find a way to get White and Cook going. Brock Bowers was a problem for Alabama's defense in the first matchup and figures to be an issue again.
It's going to be a great game, but Georgia is in a good position to exact their revenge.
Georgia 28, Alabama 24