Arts & CultureFlag Football

For Once, the Dawgs Aren’t Underdawgs Versus Bama

The last time Georgia faced Alabama, in the 2012 SEC Championship game, Chris Conley caught a pass inside the 5-yard line that allowed time to run out and lost Georgia the game. It sucked. 

Georgia stood toe-to-toe to Alabama that night. They were equals. Hell, Georgia may have even been a little bit better. But slightly different margins create vastly different results. Alabama moved on to the national title game against an underwhelming Notre Dame team that UGA was much better than, took home the crystal football and kept its spot at the top of the college football world. Georgia beat Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl.

There are similarities between how Georgia and Alabama shape their teams and programs. Both rely on a staunch defense to win games. Offensively, both use a pro style that relies heavily on the running backs and uses the quarterback as a game manager. The only real difference is that Alabama has won SEC championships and national titles with this method, while UGA’s frequented the Capital One Bowl. UGA is just Alabama Lite.

Georgia faces Alabama for the first time since the 2012 SEC championship game this Saturday in Athens, and it presents an opportunity to flip that narrative. Ole Miss already did the bulk of the work by damaging Alabama’s mystique with 43-37 win a few weeks ago. A win by Georgia on Saturday would give the Bulldogs a clear path to the SEC championship game and pretty much guarantee the Crimson Tide won’t return to the college football playoff this year. A Georgia win would kill the Alabama dynasty.

Georgia is a one-point favorite in the game. It’s the first time since the 2009 SEC championship game that ‘Bama has entered a game the underdog. That’s a streak of 73 games.

To win, Georgia will need big games from Sony Michel and Nick Chubb, and it will need the defense to force turnovers. (The Crimson Tide turned the ball over five times against Ole Miss, which was it’s ultimate undoing.) If it can do those two things, and Greyson Lambert continues to manage the game and not make mistakes, Georgia will emerge as a heavy-favorite to win the SEC East.

Georgia’s biggest advantage—assuming there’s no blackout—will be its home crowd. This has been the game circled on every fan’s calendar since it was announced, and ‘Bama’s loss to Ole Miss did little to defuse the excitement. If anything, people are more pumped because they saw just how beatable ‘Bama is and saw the formula for how to do it laid out in front of them. Sanford Stadium will be rocking and ready to end Alabama’s party.