(CBS Native)- Alabama and Georgia’s latest historical past would recommend that Saturday night time’s tilt can be enjoyable whatever the groups’ respective standing nationally. Add in that the 2 sides are available in ranked 2nd (Alabama) and third (Georgia), and you’ve got all you might 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 completely 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’ll face its first severe take a look at this weekend.
“What we’ve seen to date is that defenses simply aren’t the identical as they had been within the SEC. Apart from at Georgia the place Kirby has constructed that workforce very a lot in the best way the Alabama groups had been when he was Nick Saban’s defensive coordinator for a decade. Up to now, that’s the workforce that jogs my memory of traditional Alabama,” mentioned School Soccer At this time host Adam Zucker in an interview with CBS Native’s Ryan Mayer. “Present Alabama is throwing the ball all around 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 towards 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 stored Saban’s unit on the sphere with out a lot probability to substitute. Might Georgia look to that route?
“I can see that occuring. Each workforce has it put in to go up tempo at this level. So I may see Georgia attempting to make the most of 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 could have discovered some areas of the sphere to assault by learning final week’s Ole Miss recreation plan, they’re basically the identical Bulldogs offense we’ve seen the previous few years. They’re averaging 45.7 dashing makes an attempt towards 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 dashing 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 many others,” mentioned Zucker. “Seeing if Georgia is ready to discover holes there and get to the sting the best way Ole Miss was within the final recreation. If Georgia can try this, I feel they’ll be at an enormous benefit.”
On the flip facet, Zucker is within the energy on energy matchup of Georgia’s go protection towards 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 towards only one decide by means of the primary three video games.
Although the Tide noticed two receivers go within the first spherical of April’s draft, they’ve two extra seemingly first rounders in Devonta Smith and blink and also you’ll miss him Jaylen Waddle.
It’s an explosive group going up towards a Georgia protection that has allowed simply 3.7 yards per play to date this season.
“Can Mac Jones discover his guys towards the velocity of that Georgia protection, whereas additionally contending with the Georgia go rush that utterly modified the sport towards 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 workforce to beat within the East this yr due to what we’re used to with their protection. They really misplaced a very good variety of guys and it’s a fairly difficult protection they usually’re clearly struggling proper now,” mentioned Zucker. “Georgia is the workforce to me now and win or lose on Saturday, I might think about they might be the workforce again within the SEC title recreation from the East. And, I wouldn’t be stunned 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 At this time at 7:30 p.m. with kick-off slated for 8.