2022 College Football National Championship
The 2021-22 college football season will come to a conclusion on Monday night as No. 1 Alabama meets No. 3 Georgia in Indianapolis.
These teams have appeared to be on a collision course all season, especially after Alabama defeated the Bulldogs in the SEC Championship.
Georgia opened its season with what seemed like an impressive win over Clemson and proceeded to dominate its competition all season; eventually rising to the No.1 ranking in mid-October. Among the Bulldogs' most impressive wins this season were: a shutout of then-No. 8 Arkansas, a 34-10 win on the road against then-No. 18 Auburn, a win against then-No.11 Kentucky, and last week's drubbing of No. 2 Michigan.
The Bulldogs are a team founded on defense and running the football. The defense is filled with future NFL players at every level, most notably LB Nakobe Dean, DL Jordan Davis, and CB Derion Kendrick. They have shut down most of the offenses they faced with the one exception being the first meeting with Alabama.
Quarterback is probably the weakest position on the Bulldog offense. Stetson Bennett has actually had a very good season, but it's the one position that has been the most inconsistent on a team with few flaws. Running backs Zamir White, James Cook, and Kenny McIntosh seem to carry much of the load, while the tight ends-- Brock Bowers and Darnell Washington--provide the most favorable matchups in the passing game.
Georgia also got a great addition with the return of WR George Pickens from injury. Pickens is a difference-maker on the outside and a possible high draft pick come April (if he declares).
Alabama started the season ranked No.1 and thumped then-No.14 Miami in its season opener. The Crimson Tide held that No.1 spot until a loss at Texas A&M on October 9. That was the first loss Nick Saban has EVER suffered to one of his former assistants (Jimbo Fisher). Georgia head coach Kirby Smart is 0-4 against his former boss.
Alabama had some close calls against Florida, LSU, Arkansas, and AUburn, but the A&M loss has remained the only blemish on the resume.
The Crimson Tide offense is multifaceted. Everyone knows about Heisman Trophy-winner Bryce Young at quarterback and his receivers in the passing game. Jameson Williams and John Metchie II have been huge assets for this team, but the Tide can run the ball as well. Senior Brian Robinson Jr. had to wait his turn behind the likes of Najee Harris and has run for a career-best 1,275 yards and 14 touchdowns.
The Alabama defense is one of the best in the country, but it can be susceptible to some big plays and some opponents have found ways to move the ball well.
In the first meeting, Georgia was able to put up points and move the ball for most of the first three quarters, but the speed of Alabama's receivers proved to be too much, and pressure was put on Stetson Bennett to be a game-changer, which is not a role that suits him well.
This time around, Alabama will be without Metchie, who is a great complement opposite Williams. In the playoff game against Cincinnati, Slade Bolden stepped up to fill that spot. Bolden may be in for a big role again as Georgia will look to take away Williams every chance it gets.
Georgia needs to keep Bryce Young in the pocket defensively and prevent him from making improvised plays. The Bulldogs also need their offense to play as well as it did against Michigan. There were plays available the first time around. If Georgia can hit more of those, this will be a much better game.