With a win Monday night, Nick Saban and Bear Bryant will be equals in terms of championships won.
The Tide’s title bout against the Georgia Bulldogs is Alabama’s sixth since Saban took over in 2007 and its third straight championship game appearance. But, Saban and the Crimson Tide are in Atlanta to win a title not to simply just play for one.
A Similar Opponent
Crimson Tide radio analyst Phil Savage said the Tide’s defensive line won its individual matchups against the Clemson Tigers’ offensive line in impressive fashion and its offensive line was surprisingly able to hold off Clemson’s tenacious front four.
Now, they face more of the same from Kirby Smart’s Bulldogs.
“The reality of it is Alabama’s going to be looking in a mirror at themselves,” Savage said.
He said Alabama’s first order of business is to stop the run defensively while successfully running the football on offense.
— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) January 8, 2018
Savage said a key for both teams is alleviating pressure on their respective quarterbacks and turnovers will be a major factor in the title game. He said the matchup reminded him of Alabama’s title game against LSU in 2012 that the Tide won in shutout fashion 21-0.
He said in order for Alabama to have big success offensively they need to keep themselves in “3rd and manageable” situations. The Tide cannot find themselves in 3rd and 9 or more situations often.
Tide Players to Watch
With Anfernee Jennings undergoing knee surgery, it is up to redshirt junior Christian Miller and sophomore Terrell Lewis (pictured left) to fill Alabama’s “jack” position. Both are back after suffering serious injuries against Florida State in the season opener.
Lester Cotton was also ruled out for Monday night’s title game after suffering a knee injury in the Sugar Bowl. Hassenauer filled in for the rest of the 24-6 victory and will be getting the start in Atlanta. Listed as one of Alabama’s top reserves, eyes will be on Hassenauer as he goes up against Georgia defensive tackles Tyler Clark and John Atkins in the trenches.
3. Jalen Hurts
Phil Savage said that he is still a work in progress as a passer but is still a great dual-threat quarterback. He also added Alabama has improved in terms of passing in the traditional sense. Criticisms of Hurts contest that he is a poor passer or not a great quarterback. He will be in for a test against an experienced Georgia secondary that has 11 interceptions this season.
What’s At Stake?
A win for Saban would tie him with the Bear and leave him one title away from leading the pack in championships. It’d mean a fifth title for the Crimson Tide in the Nick Saban era. All that’s in the way is Kirby Smart, Saban’s right-hand man for 11 years. The Tide’s head man might be undefeated against former assistants, but the 12th matchup might prove to be the most difficult.