(CBS Native)- The latest historical past between Alabama and Georgia would counsel that Saturday evening’s tilt can be enjoyable whatever the staff’s respective standing nationally. Add in that the 2 sides are available ranked 2nd (Alabama) and third (Georgia) and you’ve got all you can ask for from an early season SEC conflict.
The final two instances the groups have met, Alabama has engineered a second half comeback to sprint the Bulldogs hopes of a nationwide championship and an SEC title. This yr, issues are a bit totally different. First, The Tide enter with a equally prolific offense, however the protection has been defective. Georgia enters as one of many nation’s stingiest defensive models although it would face its first critical take a look at this weekend.
“What we’ve seen up to now is that defenses simply aren’t the identical as they have been within the SEC. Aside from at Georgia the place Kirby has constructed that staff very a lot in the way in which the Alabama groups have been when he was Nick Saban’s defensive coordinator for a decade. Thus far, that’s the staff that jogs my memory of traditional Alabama,” mentioned School Soccer Right this moment host Adam Zucker in an interview with CBS Native’s Ryan Mayer. “Present Alabama is throwing the ball everywhere in the yard. They’ve a star in Najee Harris who simply ran for over 200 yards. It’s onerous to make use of the Ole Miss recreation as a pattern to go ahead with as a result of Alabama goes to be up in opposition to a a lot better protection in Georgia. Georgia’s offense isn’t what Ole Miss’ offense is both.”
The Tide gave up 48 factors and 647 yards to the Rebels final week largely as a result of, as Zucker factors out, Bama’s protection was gassed. Lane Kiffin has turned Ole Miss right into a excessive tempo machine that saved Saban’s unit on the sector with out a lot probability to substitute. Might Georgia look to that route?
“I can see that occuring. Each staff has it put in to go up tempo at this level. So I may see Georgia making an attempt to benefit from that,” mentioned Zucker. “You simply don’t wish to get Stetson Bennett IV too far over his skis.”
That’s the rub. For as a lot because the Bulldogs might have discovered some areas of the sector to assault by finding out final week’s Ole Miss recreation plan, they’re essentially the identical Bulldogs offense we’ve seen the previous couple of years. They’re averaging 45.7 speeding makes an attempt in opposition to simply 34 passing makes an attempt on the season they usually have a secure of backs led by Zamir White. For Zucker, whether or not that Georgia speeding assault can discover holes in Alabama’s entrance goes to be one of many keys to look at.
“What you discover watching Ole Miss vs. Alabama is up entrance Alabama doesn’t have the dominant guys that we’re used to seeing with Johnathan Allen, Quinnen Williams, and so on,” mentioned Zucker. “Seeing if Georgia is ready to discover holes there and get to the sting the way in which Ole Miss was within the final recreation. If Georgia can do this, I feel they’ll be at an enormous benefit.”
On the flip aspect, Zucker is within the power on power matchup of Georgia’s move protection in opposition to the Tide’s explosive passing recreation. There hasn’t been a lot drop off with Mac Jones taking on as beginning quarterback, he’s accomplished 79.5% of his passes for 1,101 and eight touchdowns in opposition to only one decide by the primary three video games.
Although the Tide noticed two receivers go within the first spherical of April’s draft, they’ve two extra probably first rounders in Devonta Smith and blink and also you’ll miss him Jaylen Waddle.
It’s an explosive group going up in opposition to a Georgia protection that has allowed simply 3.7 yards per play up to now this season.
“Can Mac Jones discover his guys in opposition to the pace of that Georgia protection, whereas additionally contending with the Georgia move rush that fully modified the sport in opposition to Tennessee,” requested Zucker.
The Tide enter as 4.5 level favorites at dwelling. Win or lose, one factor appears clear. We’re prone to see these two squads match up once more in December.
“I feel the West is Alabama’s and it’s only a matter of who finally ends up second. I initially thought that Florida was the staff to beat within the East this yr due to what we’re used to with their protection. They really misplaced a superb variety of guys and it’s a reasonably difficult protection they usually’re clearly struggling proper now,” mentioned Zucker. “Georgia is the staff to me now and win or lose on Saturday, I’d think about they might be the staff again within the SEC title recreation from the East. And, I wouldn’t be shocked if it’s Alabama Georgia not solely in December however within the School Soccer Playoff.”
#2 Alabama hosts #Three Georgia on Saturday, October 17 on CBS. Protection begins at 7 p.m. Jap Time with The Drive To Atlanta that includes Adam, Rick Neuheisel and Brian Jones adopted by School Soccer Right this moment at 7:30 p.m. with kick-off slated for 8.