The committee may prefer Georgia’s resume more than Alabama’s body of work, but Vegas is not buying it. According to Covers.com, Alabama would be an 11.5 point favorite over Georgia in a neutral site game, and there’s a good chance that will happen in Atlanta for the SEC Championship.
Georgia has already locked up the SEC East a month before the title game, but the SEC West is a much closer call. Alabama is battling Auburn for the top spot as the two teams square off in the Iron Bowl during Thanksgiving week. The Crimson Tide hold a one game lead, and could be helped out by Georgia if the Bulldogs defeat the Tigers this weekend.
Vegas is skeptical that Georgia’s potent rushing attack will have success against the Crimson Tide.
“Georgia has an offense that tries to rush the ball 40 to 50 times a game while huddling,” Westgate oddsmaker Ed Salmon told Covers.com. “No team has ever rushed the ball against Alabama without playing no-huddle or hurry-up [offense].”
It will be worth watching how Vegas evaluates the Atlanta location given it is just over an hour from Athens. While Georgia would not have a shortage of fans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, it would not be a true home game for the Bulldogs as Atlanta has become Alabama’s second home with the frequency they have played in the SEC title game.
Let’s take a look at how the two teams match up.
Georgia Has the Better Resume, But That Doesn’t Mean They Are the Better Team
The 2017 College Football Playoff rankings are through two iterations, and Georgia has been ranked in the top spot both times. The committee has emphasized, they believe Georgia has a stronger resume than Alabama. Georgia had a signature moment with their road win over Notre Dame early in the season. The Bulldogs also have wins over Mississippi State and South Carolina.
Alabama’s best win to date came against LSU. Alabama’s opener against Florida State was being dubbed as a matchup featuring the top two teams in college football. Seminoles quarterback DeAndre Francois was knocked out during the game, and Florida State’s season took a turn for the worst. Despite Alabama’s dominant victory, the win is not helping their resume as much as originally thought as Florida State has had a bad season.
While Alabama may not have the strongest resume, it is about to get a lot better in November. The Crimson Tide have upcoming road games against Mississippi State and Auburn. Alabama also will likely play against Georgia in the SEC Championship where things will eventually sort itself out.
SB Nation’s S&P+ rankings have Alabama at No. 1, while Georgia is ranked No. 4. Alabama has a top ten scoring offense averaging 40.9 points per game compared to Georgia’s 35.9 points which ranks 21st.
Alabama has the top ranked defense in the country, allowing only 9.8 points per game. Georgia is second as the defense only gives up 11.4 points per game.
One thing that is hard for the metrics to consider is the amount of injuries that are piling up for Alabama. Linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton is out for the rest of the season, and cornerback Minkah FItzpatrick is also battling injuries. Backup linebacker Mack Wilson will miss 4-6 weeks.
Alabama has no shortage of talent with the number of top recruits the school has been able to land over the last several years. It is an interesting story to watch, as Alabama continues to lose players.
The good news is fans are likely going to be able to see the two teams play on the field, rather than just on paper.