Following the 2011 college football season, SEC foes Alabama and LSU met in the BCS National Championship Game. No one outside of SEC country was happy how that turned out and the game was a total bore as the Crimson Tide won 21-0.
That matchup led to the creation of the College Football Playoff starting in the 2014 season. The SEC was a driving force behind the playoff because it believed it was such a strong league that it had a good shot annually of getting two teams into the national semifinals.
That finally happened this season with No. 3 Georgia and No. 4 Alabama, and the two won their semifinal games on New Year’s Day and will face off for the national championship on January 8 at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, just 70 miles or so from the Georgia campus in Athens.
The Dawgs might have a larger fan base in the building, but they are 4.5-point underdogs for the contest at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Alabama coach Nick Saban looks for his fifth national title at that school and sixth overall, which would tie legendary Tide coach Bear Bryant for the most all-time. It’s the third straight title game for Alabama after splitting the past two years in shootouts with Clemson. The Tide beat Clemson in the Sugar Bowl national semifinal on January 1, 24-6. Alabama had just 261 yards of offense but held the Tigers to 188 and scored a defensive touchdown.
The Georgia-Oklahoma Rose Bowl semifinal was the polar opposite of the Sugar Bowl as the Bulldogs won a classic 54-48 over the Sooners and Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield in double overtime. UGA blocked an OU field goal to start the second OT, and Sony Michel won it on a 27-yard TD run. The teams combined for more than 1,000 yards of offense with Georgia rushing for 317 yards. Michel had 181 yards and three scores on just 11 carries, while Nick Chubb had 145 and two TDs on 14 carries.
Georgia won the SEC title game this year, while Alabama didn’t even win the SEC West Division. The Bulldogs, coached by Saban protégé and former Tide defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, are looking for their second national title (1980). Saban is 11-0 all-time against his former assistants as head coaches.
These schools last played in 2015 in Athens. That was notable because it was the only game this decade in which the Tide were underdogs (+1). They rolled to victory anyways, 38-10. The underdog has covered the past four in this series according to the OddsShark College Football Database.
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