There are so many ironic things about the 2018 national championship showdown between No. 4 Alabama and No. 3 Georgia, that this year’s title tilt could quite literally be could be relabeled as the ‘Irony Bowl’.
Currently 5Dimes college football oddsmakers have listed Alabama as 4-point betting favorites over Georgia to win the 2018 national championship.
Alabama Crimson Tide Vs Georgia Bulldogs College Football National Title Betting Trends
What: College Football Playoff National Championship Presented By AT&T
Who: No. 4 Alabama vs. No. 3 Georgia
When: Monday, January 8, 2018 at 8:00 PM ET
Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA
Stream: Watch ESPN
NCAAF Odds: Alabama -4
Let’s get started with the fact that both national championship participants lost a single game – to the same opponent this season.
AP No. 1 Alabama lost to SEC rival Auburn 26-14 on Nov. 25 – two weeks after then CFP No. 1 Georgia lost to the same Tigers 40-17 on Nov. 11.
This will be the second consecutive National Championship Game featuring a true freshman quarterback in Georgia’s Jake Fromm – after Alabama’s Jalen Hurts pulled off the feat a year ago.
Two defensive stars one national awards as Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith bagged the Dick Butkus Award this season as the nation’s top linebacker, and Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick won both, the Chuck Bednarik (defensive player of the year) and Jim Thorpe (best defensive back) awards.
No. 4 Alabama didn’t play for the SEC title this year because it didn’t win the SEC West. Georgia did play for the SEC title and won it by extracting some revenge against Auburn in its 28-7 win on Dec. 2.
Nevertheless, the Tide can lay claim to being the best team in the conference and nation by beating Georgia in the national championship.
Georgia is also the first team to play a national championship game in its home state since LSU played in New Orleans in 2012 – when they lost to – of all teams – Alabama.
Kirby Smart is trying to become the first head coach to win a national championship with his alma mater since Tennessee’s Phillip Fulmer in 1998. Unfortunately for Smart, he’s going up against his former boss in Alabama head coach Nick Saban who just so happens to be a perfect 11-0 all-time against his former assistants with all 11 wins coming by at least 14 points as he gets set to go up against his former longtime defensive coordinator.
‘Un-Bearable’ History in the Making?
Alabama is shooting for its fifth national title in the last 9 seasons. No team has won five titles faster than the16 seasons it took Alabama to win five championship between from 1964-79 under legendary head coach Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant.
Did You Know that the Alabama defense has forced at least one turnover in 41 of its past 43 games going back to the start of the 2015 season?
No Passing Fancy
While Jake Fromm is clearly a very good player and gets a lot of love for being a classic drop-back passer, Alabama and sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurts were just a bit better passing the rock this season, even though you’d never know it from the ‘Fake News’ media (Trumpism jokes aside).
Georgia ranked 17th in scoring (36.3 ppg) and an uninspiring 110th in passing (172.9 ypg). While Jalen Hurts doesn’t get much credit for his passing ability, Alabama ranked 87th in passing (198.9 ypg) and the Tide ranked an impressive 12th in scoring by putting up 37.9 points per contest.
Key offensive player for Georgia: Nick/Chubb/Sonny Michel
While Chubb (145 yards) and Michel (181 yards) torched Oklahoma for a combined 326 yards to set a record for most combined rushing yards by two running backs, if the pair gets limited in their quest for success on the ground against Alabama, the Bulldogs will have no chance whatsoever.
Key defensive player for Georgia: Every Linebacker and D-Lineman Not Named Roquan Smith
Sure Roquan Smith is a superstar of the highest caliber, but he alone will not be able to contain Alabama’s powerful rushing attack. If Smith doesn’t get the help he’ll clearly need from Georgia’s defensive linemen and fellow linebackers, it could be lights out for the Bulldogs.
Key offensive player for Alabama: Jalen Hurts
While some football ‘experts’ believe that sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurts is the weak link that could derail Alabama’s championship hopes, I disagree wholeheartedly. While Hurts passed for a modest 2,125 yards this season, he also tossed 17 TD passes and just one interception, so clearly, he’s not turnover prone. He also rushed for a stupendous 808 rushing yards and eight scores while averaging 5.5 yards per carry. His added rushing ability gives opposing defensive coordinators nightmares and he can clearly throw the ball – when allowed (which just isn’t often enough if you ask me). Case in point, Hurts completed 16 of 24 passes for 120 yards while tossing two TD passes and no interceptions in Alabama’s 24-6 semifinal win over Clemson this past weekend while adding 40 rushing yards on 11 carries.
Key defensive player for Alabama: The Front Seven
I know Minkah Fitzpatrick is a flat-out superstar in the secondary, but Alabama’s defensive line and linebackers had better come to play if they want to beat a Georgia team that will be looking to run the ball down their opponents’ throats as they have all season. If the Tide can stop Georgia’s run and force Jake Fromm into obvious passing situations, then they’ll be in great shape.
Georgia has a rushing attack that ranked eighth in the country (267.4 ypg) and features three running backs that will all be playing in the NFL at some point in the very near future. Nick Chubb rushed for 1,320 yards and 15 touchdowns while averaging 6.4 yards per carry while Sonny Michel added 1,129 yards and 16 scores while averaging a stupendous 8.0 yards per carry. Lesser known but equally gifted third-stringer D’Andre Swift chipped in 603 yards and three scores while averaging a fantastic 7.8 yards per carry.
Unfortunately, the Dawgs are going up against an Alabama defense that, not only ranked first in the nation against the run (92.8 ypg), but also first in total defense (253.5 ypg), third against the pass (160.6 ypg) and first in points allowed (11.1 ppg).