Normally we celebrate this matchup in Atlanta in December in the SEC Championship Game, but the SEC’s infamous 6-1-1 rotation has put two of the strongest cross-divisional programs of the last five years against each other in 2020 and 2021. This could very well be a preview of the SEC title game in Atlanta, and at least one of these two has been in the conference championship game since 2014.
When and where
Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, AL
Why the line is what it is
Because Georgia’s offense last year was pretty pathetic, which is how new offensive coordinator Todd Monken got hired and James Coley got reassigned to “assistant head coach.” The Dawgs faithful were not putting up with another year of what they saw last season, which was the No. 1 team in college football on defense and special teams by SP+, but only 32nd when they had the ball.
Quarterback Jake Fromm is gone as well, with Wake Forest’s Jamie Newman taking over as signal-caller following a Demon Deacons undergrad degree and 2868 yards passing and 574 rushing. But Georgia still needs to prove they can move the ball, and that won’t be easy with Alabama having more recruiting stars on defense than all the constellations visible to the northern hemisphere combined.
Bama has lost three games the last two seasons, so obviously #FireSaban will be trending on Twitter soon. But until then Mac Jones is the likely starting quarterback, Najee Harris, Brian Robinson and Trey Sanders are beyond terrifying to face as a linebacker, and wide receiver DeVonta Smith decided to stay one more year in Tuscaloosa.
Also there’s the best off-field story of the SEC offseason, which is legendary ‘Bama strength coach Scott Cochran crossing the line and going to work for Georgia as a full-assistant coach for less money than he was making in Tuscaloosa. It just adds a smidge of intrigue to the game, keeping in mind Kirby Smart is 0-2 against his former employer.
Where the value is now
Georgia has been recruiting as well as Alabama of late, but #TheProcess in Tuscaloosa is perfectly suited for an early-season matchup such as this one. It also sets up well as the Tide goes USC, Georgia State, Georgia to open the season, giving them a week to flesh out the kinks after opening day.
We’ll take the Tide, barely, and stay away if it got to -7.5.
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