For the first time since 2021, Kirby Smart and No. 1 Georgia football will face Nick Saban and No. 8 Alabama this weekend in yet another game with massive stakes. This time it will be the SEC Championship Game, with College Football Playoff implications on the line.
It's unclear if this could be an elimination game of sorts for Georgia, but for Alabama football, it's most certainly one. The Bulldogs are still undefeated and have held onto the No. 1 ranking in the CFP for the last few weeks. The Crimson Tide have likewise held their No. 8 ranking as they have one loss to Texas back at the beginning of the season.
Alabama can't afford another loss, and it's not even certain they would earn a top-4 ranking if they beat Georgia. But who knows how the playoff committee would judge a close Georgia loss. Would the Bulldogs completely drop out of the top-4, or would they be just on the outside looking in at around No. 5? Either way, neither one of these teams wants to find that out. Win, and the assumption is they're in.
What's further intriguing about this matchup is that Smart is 1-5 against his former boss. The Georgia coach's first win over the Crimson Tide came when the Bulldogs won their first national championship since 1980 two seasons ago. That was their last meeting, but before that, Georgia football had lost the last seven meetings against Alabama. Will the Bulldogs be able to win their 30th consecutive game in a row and move onto the CFP? Let's get into some Georgia Bulldogs bold predictions for the SEC Championship Game versus Alabama.
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Carson Beck continues impressive season, outduels Jalen Milroe
As the season has progressed, so has Carson Beck as Georgia's quarterback. There was obviously a transition phase becoming the starter after watching Stetson Bennett hold the position and win two national championships while doing so. But Beck has come into his own and might even be considered a Heisman favorite most years.
Beck had a very pedestrian game last weekend against in-state rival Georgia Tech, only throwing for 175 yards, one touchdown to one interception in 20 attempts, succeeding in 13 of those. The lights will be much brighter in Atlanta on Saturday than they were last weekend. Beck throws for just over 200 yards and at least one touchdown.
Georgia football rushes for almost 200 yards against Alabama
Against Auburn last weekend, Alabama gave up 244 yards rushing to the Tigers' fierce rushing attack. That's, of course, Hugh Freeze's bread and butter for Auburn's offense this season, as the Tigers only threw for 91 yards. But this is where Georgia can certainly find an advantage against Alabama, where the battle will start up front. Look for Kendall Milton and Daijun Edwards to get their fair share of touches, getting most of the Bulldogs' scoring.
Georgia's defense sacks Jalen Milroe at least three times
Though the Alabama offensive line was one of the worst in the country this season, it has improved somewhat as the season has gone on. Jalen Milroe has only been sacked twice over the last three games, where he had been sacked at least twice in every game before that. This will be a challenge for the Crimson Tide offensive line, however.
Granted, this isn't quite like some of the Bulldogs' offensive lines of the past, but it's still a very good one. They'll look to be a big part of containing Milroe and bringing him down to avoid any more miracle plays like last weekend.
Georgia beats Alabama by 10 or more
It's really hard to gauge a team coming off rivalry week, especially one the likes of the Iron Bowl. Even Georgia didn't look their best against Georgia Tech last weekend. Alabama has struggled this year, though, where they've narrowly held on to win games. Georgia had their fair share of struggles to start off the season, especially with slow starts to games. But now they look much more like a well-oiled machine.
Alabama has overcome a lot this season while Saban has yet again proven his worth as a head coach, by keeping his Crimson Tide team in the playoff hunt. But Alabama will miss the CFP for the second year in a row, as Georgia will beat the Crimson Tide by at least 10, winning the SEC Championship and moving on to the playoff, continuing to make history.