The upcoming collegiate gridiron battle between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Alabama Crimson Tide has all the makings of an instant classic.
It could very well be one of the those games aired on a regular basis through the years.
Often matchups labeled as “marquee” going into the contest don’t live up to their billing. On paper, though, this one certainly has all the necessary elements to be one for the ages.
Both teams are ranked near the very top of the new Associated Press poll released Sunday. Alabama is at No. 2 while UGA is at No. 3.
While both teams have had some flawed moments in 2020, both are capable of beating anyone on their schedule — regular season, conference title game and playoffs.
With the exception of the first two quarters of the season, UGA has probably been as impressive as anyone. The Bulldogs are the real deal on defense.
Alabama, meanwhile, is certainly clicking on all cylinders offensively, rolling up more than 700 yards of total offense in the Crimson Tide’s high-scoring victory against Ole Miss last weekend.
It’s defense where Alabama seems to be lacking and that really seems odd. Head coach Nick Saban is a defensive-minded coach. One of the trademarks of his teams through the years has been solid defenses.
It will be a matchup of strength (Alabama’s offense) vs. strength (Georgia’s defense) on Saturday night. Many times in cases such as this it is the defense which slows down the high-powered offense.
UGA fans should hope Alabama doesn’t score more than 60 points this week. Georgia’s offense, while good, probably wouldn’t be able to keep track.
In all likelihood, however, the game will probably be in neighborhood of a 17-14 score or maybe 20-17 or 24-20.
Saban continues to be perfect when meeting his former assistants who are now head coaches. He added one more victory to that total last Saturday against Ole Miss and Lane Kiffin, although it was a track meet to be sure.
Georgia’s Kirby Smart, a former long-time assistant for Saban, has come as close as anyone to defeating his mentor.
The matchup will be talked to death this week on sports talk shows, both local and national, and in the printed media. It could turn out to be just the first meeting between the teams this season.
There is a very strong chance Alabama and Georgia will meet in the SEC championship contest. Some have even suggested a third meeting (in the playoffs) is possible but if one team wins the regular season and conference title matchups then a third game is likely not going to happen.
After a sluggish first half to open the season against Arkansas, UGA has played 10 quarters of dominant football, especially on defense. Saturday’s game will be a tougher test to say the least. Alabama is loaded with future professional players on the offensive side of the football and it will take a solid effort and game plan by the Bulldogs to win the game.
Games like this are what make college football so special. It’s a game fans of both schools have been looking to throughout the offseason. There will be plenty of crosstalk this week, some good-natured and some not-so-good-natured.
It’s a tough game to predict the winner in. Under normal circumstances the fact Alabama is at home would be an advantage. That has been negated some now.
In terms of picking a winner, you probably can just flip a coin. It is really the ultimate toss-up contest.
Chris Bridges is a former sports editor for The Covington News and The Walton Tribune. He welcomes feedback about this column at firstname.lastname@example.org.