In National Championship Game Georgia Gets Rare Opportunity to Beat Little Brother Alabama
There’s no way Georgia is going to lose to Alabama. Period.
I write a column like this just about every week, but I’m pretty much always right. If you don’t believe me, check out the archives or listen to the Podcast in which I’m undefeated in predicting Georgia games this year (including the loss to Auburn).
But this post is a little bit different. Not because Alabama is Alabama (though Bama is Bama) and not because the Georgia Bulldogs are new to this position. This post is different because I’m not relying on hot takes, hatred or even math to get my point across. This post is about common sense.
Georgia is going to beat Alabama, and my reasoning comes down to plain, simple, abundantly-clear truths.
The Georgia Bulldogs will not lose to the Alabama Crimson Tide, because you don’t get beat up by your little brother and Bama is UGA’s little brother.
Let’s look at the facts.
Nick Saban can’t win the big one without Kirby Smart.
Think I’m kidding? Ask yourself why Alabama lost the National Championship Game last year. It certainly wasn’t because of the offense. It wasn’t because Steve Sarkisian was placed in a
booze-booze lose-lose situation on short notice. No, the unceremonious early dismissal of Lane Kiffin, one of the most brilliant minds and one of the most revered people in all of sports, was nothing more than a distraction by Nick Saban. Admittedly, it was a flawlessly executed distraction, but it was nothing more than a distraction nonetheless. You see, by convincing the mainstream media and fans alike to wonder, “What if Lane Kiffin wasn’t already on his way to FAU?” Saban was able to disguise the fact that Alabama couldn’t stop Clemson’s offense—not without Kirby Smart.
The reality is this: Nick Saban hasn’t stopped an opposing offense in a big game since Kirby Smart left. Seriously, when was the last time a Saban-coached team stopped anybody in a national championship game without Kirby Smart? I’ll give you the answer. It was back in 2003. And want to know a secret? Saban wasn’t coaching Alabama in 2003.
The reality is that Alabama has never won an undisputed National Championship without Kirby Smart—at least not during the BCS or Playoff eras. And that’s staggering because Alabama wins “national championships” even when they don’t win National Championships. Not following? Sit tight.
Alabama football is a fraudulent excuse for a national power.
Alabama claims 16 National Championships. The NCAA says Alabama has won 14. The Associated Press gives Alabama credit for 10. What gives?
Well, here’s an example. In 1973 Notre Dame won the AP, FWAA and NFF National Championships with a perfect 11-0 record. The Fighting Irish handed Alabama its lone loss that season in the Sugar Bowl. But sure…Alabama won that national championship…according to Alabama.
That’s not an isolated incident. It’s not even the most ridiculously fake national title Bama has “won.” In 1941, Alabama was 9-2 and finished ranked 20th in the AP Poll and 3rd in the Southeastern Conference. The undefeated Minnesota Gophers claimed the AP and Consensus title, but Alabama says they won it. Alabama lost to Vanderbilt that year.
There are half a dozen questionable Alabama “national championships,” because Alabama was the original inventor of Fake News. Alabama created the Participation Trophy Generation. Bear Bryant was the very first millennial, wandering around his parents’ basement begging for trophies and believing his own alternate realities.
Alabama paved the way for the ridiculousness we’re seeing at UCF.
But Alabama had to do all that in order to stay relevant. Why? Well, because Alabama kind of sucks.
Alabama kind of sucks.
A class action suit should be filed against the State of Alabama for false advertising and deceptive marketing. “Alabama the Beautiful” my ass. You ever been there? “Alabama is beautiful” is the greatest lie the devil ever told.
Truthfully, there are very few things the state does well other than advance negative southern stereotypes, but this post isn’t about personal attacks. It’s about how desperately people want out of Alabama’s football program.
Want to know why Georgia fired Mark Richt 25 months ago? Ultimately, because working for the University of Alabama is such a miserable experience.
- Kirby Smart hated doing all of Nick Saban’s work for him and getting no credit so he wanted out.
- He wanted out so badly that he considered taking a job working for the University of South Carolina. Seriously. He wanted to work at South Carolina more than he wanted to work at Alabama.
- Georgia wanted to rescue Kirby Smart, an alumnus, from the clutches of Alabama and a life in Columbia, South Carolina.
- Georgia graciously fired a longstanding, respected, winning coach (Mark Richt) in order to take in a would-be orphan (Kirby Smart).
The narrative that Georgia hired Kirby Smart in order to build Alabama-lite is the hottest take in the history of hot takes. It’s also flat-out wrong. Georgia didn’t fire Mark Richt (a coach who went 145-51 from 2001-2015) so that the program could be more like Alabama (which went 127-50 over the same time period given vacated wins and NCAA adjustments for cheating).
No, Georgia hired Kirby Smart because even the prodigal son must eventually come home to a fattened calf. You see, everyone wants out of Alabama.
Alabama is Georgia’s little brother.
In addition to Kirby Smart, a number of other assistants (guys like Mel Tucker and Glenn Schumann) came to Georgia from Alabama. They didn’t come to create another Alabama. They didn’t come to imitate Saban’s staff. That’s a stupid, false narrative. That’s like saying Jake Fromm came to Georgia because he wanted to create another Houston County High School or saying Justin Fields signed with the Bulldogs because he wanted to replicate Harrison High School in Athens.
That’s broken logic.
Kirby and the handful of hand-plucked assistants left Alabama for Georgia because they graduated. They were called up. They were ready for The Show. They were tired of the minor leagues. They were ready to compete at the top level possible.
That’s not a slight towards Alabama; it’s just a part of life. Similarly, it’s not an attack on Georgia when elite an prospect (like, say, Matthew Stafford) leaves the University to become the NFL’s top overall pick; it’s just the logical progression. Alabama fans won’t be able to relate to that example unless they were alive in 1948 when the last Bama player was selected first over all in the draft, but you get the idea.
At some point you leave your playful beginnings behind and get serious. That’s what Smart et. al. did when they came to Georgia.
And in fairness, they didn’t do this on their own. A slew of players, most notably Jake Fromm, also followed suit. Fromm was, after all, a longtime Alabama commit before he realized that he too might have a chance at playing for the University of Georgia. More recently, Georgia signed 12 4-star recruits (two more than Alabama) and six times as many 5-star recruits as the Crimson Tide during college football’s inaugural Early Signing Day.
Georgia is providing more opportunities than ever for football players, coaches and fans to transcend above and beyond Alabama football. Big brother is open for business, and suddenly little brother sulking in the corner.
Georgia is better at football than Alabama.
Ultimately, Georgia is the better football team in this game. This feels like something of a moot point given everything above, but the Bulldogs are better than the Crimson Tide.
Georgia has a better record (13-1) than Alabama (12-1), more accolades (ever heard of an SEC Championship, Bama?) and better head-to-head performances.
- Auburn: Alabama went 0-1 against Auburn this season with a 26-14 loss to the Tigers. Georgia went 1-1 against Auburn, most recently beating the Tigers 28-7 in the SEC Championship Game. Advantage: Georgia
- Mississippi State: Both Georgia and Alabama defeated Mississippi State. Georgia won 31-3 and Alabama won 31-24. Advantage: Georgia
- Tennessee: Both Georgia and Alabama defeated Tennessee as well. Georgia won by 41 points, Alabama won by 38. Advantage: Georgia.
- Vanderbilt: Both Georgia and Alabama defeated Vanderbilt. Alabama won by a score of 59-0 and Georgia won 45-14. Advantage: Alabama.
The Bulldogs have out-performed Alabama against three of four common opponents.
Even on an individual level, Georgia is the better team.
- Jake Fromm has thrown for more yards than Jalen Hurts while also completing a higher percentage of passes, gaining more yards per attempt and tossing 35% more touchdowns.
- Georgia has two different thousand-yard rushers (Nick Chubb and Sony Michel) and a third back with more than 600 rushing yards (D’Andre Swift). Alabama has no thousand-yard rushers and only two players (Hurts and Damien Harris) who have run for more than 600 yards.
- The Bulldogs have three receivers with more than 300 receiving yards (Javon Wims, Terry Godwin and Mecole Hardman) while the Crimson Tide has one (Calvin Ridley).
- Georgia’s leading tackler (Roquan Smith) has more tackles than Bama’s leader in tackles (Ronnie Harrison).
- Georgia’s D’Andre Walker has more tackles for loss (13.5) than Alabama’s leader in the category (Rashaan Evans).
- Dominick Sanders has more interceptions for Georgia than any player has for Alabama.
- Three Bulldogs (Lorenzo Carter, J.R. Reed and Roquan Smith) have individually recovered more fumble recoveries than any single Alabama player.
- Cameron Nizialek is a better punter than Alabama’s JK Scott in terms of yards per punt, fair catch percentage, percentage inside the 20 and percentage of punts greater than 50 yards. He’s also not been blocked this year (unlike Scott).
- Rodrigo Blankenship wins the kicking battle for Georgia too. He’s got a higher field goal percentage, longer season-long make and has made more kicks from 40+ yards than Alabama’s Andy Pappanastos.
- As measured by average return distance, Mecole Hardman is a better kick and punt returner than anyone Alabama has.
Ultimately, however, this game isn’t about wins and losses—at least not for Alabama and Georgia. For Alabama this a truly unique opportunity to prove once and for all that the program is tall enough to enjoy this ride.
For Georgia, this game offers a rare opportunity to beat the living hell out of its little brother.
Mom and dad are out of the house and he’s been driving you nuts all week, Kirby. Go ahead. Finish him. Pile drive that little guy right through the coffee table. You know you want to. You know you can. You know you should. Don’t let little brother disrespect you again.
That’s all I got/