Stem the Tide – ET’s Alabama Preview

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Stem the Tide – ET’s Alabama Preview

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Sony & Nick leave victorious
Sony & Nick leave victorious
Photo: Rob Saye/Bulldawg Illustrated
[su_spacer size=”30″] The date most Georgia fans have circled on their calendars for almost 2 years is here.  The Dawgs and the Crimson Tide play for the first time since the epic 2012 SEC championship game in a matchup of two very similar looking teams with star power and future NFL talent all over the field.  A win on Saturday between the hedges inserts Georgia right into the middle of the playoff conversation.  While a loss may not be the end of many of this team’s goals, it may insert doubt into the minds of the Bulldog Nation.  Let’s get to the preview.
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[su_spacer size=”20″] When Georgia Has the Ball
[su_spacer size=”40″] The Georgia offense puts Nick Chubb’s consecutive 100-yard game streak on the line against what may be the nation’s best front 7.  The Alabama defense has size and depth across the line and solid linebacker play and is one of the best rush defenses in the country.  The Tide’s defense is good enough to stop the Georgia running game without committing safeties to run support.  If the Georgia offensive line can get a consistent push up front, Greyson Lambert should find opportunities to exploit the Alabama secondary which is young and athletic.  Similarly to the South Carolina game, I think Brian Schottenheimer has saved a lot of wrinkles in the offensive game plan for tomorrow especially personnel groupings that put Chubb on the field with Sony Michel.  If the Dawgs’ offense can turn this game into a track meet where the Tide has to match score for score, I like Georgia’s chances to win.
[su_spacer size=”40″] When Alabama Has the Ball
[su_spacer size=”40″] The Alabama offense has been inconsistent as they have not gotten the steady QB play Nick Saban has grown accustomed to during his time in T-town.  Jacob Coker has shown glimpses of why the media anointed him a Heisman candidate last year without doing anything.  Similar to Lambert, Coker will try to lean on his running game with Derrick Henry and Kenyon Drake.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see Junior find some sets where he can get his two running backs on the field together as well.  The Tide has a big, physical, experienced offensive line that Saban would like to take over the game similar to 2012 because he knows he can’t ask Coker to stand in the pocket 35+ times against the Georgia pass rush. Dominick Sanders appears to be the X-factor type of player that could make a big play for the Dawgs to send them to victory.
[su_spacer size=”40″] What Will Happen
[su_spacer size=”40″] I’m not going to move away from my early week prediction that this game will go all 15 rounds as the 2 teams trade punches in the middle of the ring.  I really do think this game hinges on the play of the two quarterbacks.  Whichever signal caller plays the most solid game wins in a game as evenly matched as this game appears to be.  Coker has made some head-scratching throws especially when he has an absolute horse to ride at tailback in Henry.  Lambert played one poor half but has been solid the remainder of the year.  I get a feeling that the Georgia defense is going to make some plays to show the nation that Georgia plays defense like Alabama.  The winner of the turnover battle or the first team to 30 wins the game.  I like Georgia to make that late play similar to the McCarron pass late in the SEC championship game.  The Chapel Bell rings all night as the DawgNation parties like it’s 1976 all over again.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Final Score: Georgia 31, Alabama 27
[su_spacer size=”40″] Other games of interest to me
[su_spacer size=”40″] #23 West Virginia @ #15 Oklahoma – The Mountaineers roll into Norman to take on the Sooners in a match-up of ranked teams. Other than Tennessee, Stoops’ Troops haven’t really beaten anybody, but really neither has WVU. Oklahoma gets the win and focuses on ending Charlie Strong’s time in Austin next week.  Oklahoma 30, West Virginia 24
[su_spacer size=”40″] Kansas St. @ #20 Oklahoma St. – Yes, Mike Gundy, we know you’re 40, but this game has trap written all over it for the Pokes.  Bill Snyder and his AARP card lead the Cougars into Stillwater to play T. Boone Pickens U. K-State will try to make this game ugly and keep the Cowboys’ spread attack from chewing up yardage and points.  I don’t think Snyder has enough Jimmies & Joes.  Oklahoma St. 35, Kansas State 27
[su_spacer size=”40″] #3 Ole Miss @ #25 Florida – The Rebel Black Bears have beaten Alabama in T-town and struggled with Vandy in Oxford.  They now visit The Swamp in Jim McElwain’s 1st big test.  The Land Sharks got five turnovers from Alabama and still only won by 6.  That tells me someone is overrated, but it doesn’t matter this week as the Rebels go to Gainesville and take care of business.  Ole Miss 34, Florida 21
[su_spacer size=”40″] #21 Mississippi St. @ #14 Texas A&M – The Bizarro Dogs head to Kyle Field to take on the Aggies.  This game comes down to the play of the teams’ quarterbacks – Dak Prescott and Kyle Allen.  The loser of this game between ranked teams is likely out of the SEC championship hunt.  The winners survive another day in the race to Atlanta at least until they play Alabama.  Miss. St. 28, TAMU 24
[su_spacer size=”40″] #6 Notre Dame @ #12 Clemson – The Irish are overrated as their win over tech was cheapened significantly with the jackets’ loss to Duke in Durham last week.  Clemson squeaked by Louisville last week to win.  College GameDay is at Howard’s Rock this weekend.  Is it time for Clemson to pull a Clemson? Deshaun Watson says no, and the Tigers roll on the banks of Lake Hartwell.  Clemson 38, ND 20
[su_spacer size=”40″] That’s what I think.  Give me your thoughts in the comments below.
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The University of Georgia 1991-1994. Lanier Tech 2009-2012. Writer and graphic artist covering UGA athletics, college football, and recruiting. Peach cobbler fears me!