The Five: Georgia vs. Alabama 2023

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The Five: Georgia vs. Alabama 2023

1. Jalen Milroe – In the second game of the season, Alabama fell to Texas in a hotly-contested showdown between college football blue bloods. The Tide faithful were grumbling, and a lot had to do with the quarterback position. Georgia fans are all too familiar with the lineage of Alabama quarterbacks going back – in particular – to January 8, 2018. So the next week, Emperor Nick Saban gave the internet grumblers what they wanted. Other quarterbacks. Alabama went to Tampa to play South Florida, which two weeks prior had lost to Western Kentucky by 17. The game was 3-3 at the half. Alabama finally took a 10-3 lead late in the third quarter. The next week, it was clear that the Crimson Tide would sink or swim with Jalen Milroe at quarterback. The SEC wins piled up and in the second half of a 34-20 comeback win over Tennessee, Milroe blossomed. He’s one of the most dangerous runners in the country, by design or scramble. Milroe has a cannon and can make all the throws. Slowing MIlroe down is an absolute must for a Georgia victory. Keep containment, don’t overrush, and don’t give up the super long big play. Gap integrity, the analysts say, is essential. From question mark to great player, sound familiar? Jalen Milroe is the engine of yet another Crimson Tide high powered offense.

2. Dallas Turner and Tide D – Combined with one of the country’s best secondaries, Alabama’s pass rush makes for a lethal combination and arguably the top stop unit in the Southeastern Conference. Dallas Turner is the alpha at getting after the signal caller. He played Carl Banks to Will Anderson’s Lawrence Taylor the last two years, while showing he is one of the best outside linebackers in the game. This year, he may be the best. In Georgia’s national championship game victory over Alabama on January 10, 2022, Turner was a havoc wreaker. In fact, he had the sack on the play before Stetson Bennett hit A.D. Mitchell for the go-ahead touchdown. It was a recruiting battle between the Bulldogs and Crimson Tide, and it didn’t take long to see why the Sunshine State product was so coveted by the country’s two best coaches, Kirby Smart and Saban. Georgia’s offensive front, particularly the tackles depending on where Turner lines up, will have their biggest challenge of the season.





3. Alabama in Atlanta – If there is one last dragon for Georgia to slay during the Kirby Smart dynastic run, it is beating the Crimson Tide inside a domed stadium in Atlanta. There were the three all-time heartbreakers and the 2021 SEC Championship Game, which served as the prelude to Georgia’s vengeance victory in Indianapolis for the national title. The stakes are once again – hot take – major. Georgia is 1-0 in the last one meeting with Alabama. Now, can the Dogs topple the Tide in Atlanta?

4. Smart and Saban – They are the two best. Saban is College Football’s Coach of the 21st Century. He’s led Alabama to six national championships, plus the 2003 title he won as LSU’s head coach. Saban is in the class of the legends of legends, Knute Rockne and Bear Bryant. Smart, the best and brightest of his proteges, is on the same trajectory and already an all-time great legendary SEC coach. At age 47. The new top Dawg has made the dreams come true at his beloved alma mater, with back-to-back national championships these last two years. Both are hungry for more. These two dynasties, these two coaches, both wanting more in a battle of two powerhouses that have combined to win college football’s last three national championships, and eight of the last nine SEC titles.

5. 2002 with Robby Kirk – I never will forget being 10 years old, and my dad counting the paces through our living room, foyer and den. Larry Munson, begging the Dawgs to Hunker Down One More Time, pulled Georgia through. Sugar was falling from the sky. Georgia beat Auburn 19-14, clinching the 1982 SEC Championship, the Bulldogs third straight conference crown. It would be another 20 years until Georgia won another. The Bulldogs, in their first ever trip to the SEC Championship Game, beat Arkansas in the 2002 title tilt in the Georgia Dome. I got to watch the game in a box with Vince Dooley and Becky and Mike Cavan. Epic. Following the victory, I rode back to Athens with my friend Robby Kirk. We celebrated, and closed out the festivities in the wee hours – that time when you don’t know if it’s tonight or this morning – with a smuggled bottle of champagne in the Five Points Waffle House. Epic.









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