Friday, May 27

‘Underdog’ Alabama, Bryce Young traverses No. 1 Georgia and captures SEC championship

So that’s what happens when Crimson Tide is a loser.

Bulldogs should know by now.

No. 3 Alabama beat No. 1 Georgia 41-24 in the SEC championship game on Saturday, nearly ensuring that Crimson Tide will be No. 1 for the fifth time when the final rankings of the Playoffs are revealed. college football.

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Alabama’s performance on the SEC championship stage was somehow an unexpected revelation. We should have seen it coming. Nick Saban is now 8-1 on that stage since taking over Crimson Tide. Bryce Young finished 26 of 44 for 421 passing yards and three TDs in a performance that should secure a Heisman Trophy. Alabama is the team to beat again for the CFP.

A year full of surprises and college football craze leads to the same old story, at least on top.

Crimson Tide (12-1) was an underdog for the first time since October 3, 2015; a match in which they beat Georgia 38-20. The victory continued with a seven-game winning streak against the Bulldogs; a streak that began with the infamous “Blackout” on September 27, 2008.

It’s impressive from the standpoint that Georgia (12-1) entered the game with a defense that allowed 6.9 points per game during a perfect regular season. The Bulldogs dominated the first quarter and took a 10-0 lead when Stetson Bennett threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Darnell Washington on the first play of the second quarter.

Later …

Well, Young put his signature on the Heisman Trophy. He responded with a 67-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Jameson Williams; the first of five consecutive scoring units for Crimson Tide. Young dazzled with field passes of all kinds, including a winger to Brian Robinson who displayed his incredible playmaking ability.

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Young was 17 of 27 for 286 yards and 2 TDs with three carries and 40 yards and another TD in the first two quarters. The highest total yards allowed by Georgia this season was 387 yards against Tennessee. Alabama racked up 365 yards in the first half.

When did everyone know that it was all over? Was it when Young threw a 55-yard TD pass to Williams to start the second half? Williams, who could win the Biletnikoff award, finished with seven receptions for 184 yards and a pair of TDs. It’s even more valuable now because John Metchie III left in the first half with a leg injury and didn’t return.

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Was it when Jordan Battle returned a 42-yard interception for a touchdown with 11:59 remaining that gave Alabama a 38-17 lead?

Crimson Tide had trouble manufacturing a running game, but Saban and offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien’s plan was to turn it into a 7v7 game. Isn’t that college football now? Of all of Saban’s SEC championship wins, this one might sound like the best. After all, they won like the underdog.

That means Alabama is back in the college football playoff for the seventh time. Georgia should come onto the field as well, even if there could be a little debate given the shocking value of the score.

With that said, Georgia coach Kirby Smart has some serious questions to address in the event of a rematch. The Bulldogs struggled to maintain a running game with 29 carries for 115 yards. Bennett (29 of 48, 340 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT) had trouble keeping up in his second start against Crimson Tide. The defense will have to prove it in the event of a rematch.

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This is the Bulldogs’ frustration now. Since that “Blackout,” Georgia has lost three SEC championship games and one CFP championship game to Crimson Tide. Bulldogs remember it too.

The Bulldogs won the SEC championship that season, but Crimson Tide sneaked into the playoffs as a general and rode that disrespectful “you don’t belong” narrative to a thrilling 26-23 overtime victory in Atlanta. Alabama was the favorite in that game, by the way, and they will be if there is a rematch.

What other alternative do we have?

We saw what happened when he was the underdog.

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