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#3 Georgia (13-1) vs #4 Alabama (13-1) - CFP National Championship

ChubbGeorgia.JPG

#3 Georgia (13-1) vs #4 Alabama (13-1)
CFP National Championship
Mercedes-Benz Stadium - Atlanta, Ga 8 pm - ESPN

The CFP national championship game tonight in Atlanta will feature two SEC teams, Alabama and Georgia. It is only the second time two teams from the same conference will play for the national title. Alabama is going for its 5th national title under HC Nick Saban since 2009 and third in a row. They won in 2016 vs Clemson only to lose to the Tigers last year. Georgia under former Saban assistant Kirby Smart will be attempting to win the national title for the first time since 1980.

Photo - RB Nick Chubb - Georgia

The two SEC powers did not play during the 2017 or 2016 seasons or postseason. The last meeting between the SEC powers was early 2015 with Alabama prevailing with a 38-10 victory.

This game will feature strong running back tandems, in Alabama juniors Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough vs the Georgia Bulldog dynamic senior duo of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. Both clubs like to run the ball to set up their young QBs. Bama soph QB Jalen Hurts has been a veteran of big games starting two years in the SEC and playing in his second national title clash. His two-year record of 26-2 rivals any young leader in recent years. His ability to run and make plays with his feet has been a difference maker in many big games. He ran for 808 yards in 2017 and 8 TDs, complimenting the Tide tandem of Scarbrough and Harris. Hurts has thrown for 17 TD passes and just 1 interception. The Bulldog tandem of Chubb and Michel has rushed for an FBS career record of 8259 yards, a remarkable achievement despite some key injuries. This game also features two top ten defenses who have peaked over the late 2017 season except for a select subpar efforts, Alabama vs Auburn and Georgia vs Oklahoma in the semi finals.

Georgia features true freshman Jake Fromm who is coming off a great comeback victory over Oklahoma 54-48 in double OT. He is the first true freshman to start in the national title game in over 30 years. The OT win over the Sooners was the worst game of the season for the Bulldogs defense who had not allowed more than 28 points in any game prior to the semi-finals. Georgia defense is led by junior OLBs Roquan Smith and Lorenzo Carter who must make big plays for the Bulldogs to be successful.

The Bama defense has allowed over 20 points a game only three times this season and is coming off a pounding of Clemson 24-6 where they dominated the line of scrimmage for 60 minutes. Their front seven has been dominant and will fully challenge the Bulldog line. Bama looks to stop the run first and will load the box to stuff the Georgia duo of Chubb and Michel. They hope to force the young QB Fromm to win the game from the pocket. DT Da’Ron Payne is an anchor in the middle that allows the endless group of Bama linebackers to flow to the ball. The defensive group is young, but has matured nicely over the 2017 season with over half the unit underclassmen. Saban rotates as many as 15-18 defenders to play his multiple packages that have been instrumental in his blitz packages and base defense.

Saban looks to get an early lead, similar to this recent Clemson victory behind a strong ground game and mobile QB that dictates field position with good ball security. His defense rules the line of scrimmage while his zone coverage schemes takes away big plays. Look to Saban to force Georgia freshman QB Fromm to win from the pocket operating from behind a power Tide ground game. It has been a prescription for the Tide to win numerous big games. Bama wins its fifth national title since 2009 under Nick Saban.

Alabama 27 Georgia 10

Frank Coyle is a long-time scout with nationwide ties with coaches, scouts and player agents. He is a long-time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe, Biletnikoff etc for the past 20 years. He writes College Football Mondays weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for ESPN, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year-round basis related to College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites