Georgia's offense ranked #9 in YPP vs. Alabama's defense ranking #1 in YPP defense:
First of all this is the best defense that Georgia has faced all year, but it is also the best most balanced offense that Alabama has faced this year and by far. Auburn comes in at #34 with LSU #42 in S&P. Colorado State from group of 5 conferences ranked #13 and put up 23 points on Alabama on the road, but take that with a grain of salt. Georgia comes in ranking #11 and gaining confidence by the week as their young true freshman QB continues to get better. So let's break it down.
Georgia's rushing offense ranking #4 in YPC vs. Alabama's #1 rushing defense.
Georgia has faced an average opponent ranking 60.5 in the nation, and have faced 6 top 45 running defenses. This is obviously their tallest task going up against Alabama, but I think they can have decent enough success. They really were only shut down one time and it came on the road at Auburn where they were held to 46 yards rushing.
With that game and the 5 others they averaged 4.93 ypc and 217 yards and 2 TD's in the 6 games against TOP 45 defenses. Going on the road to Auburn is one of the toughest places to play and doing so with a true freshman QB can be a challenge. Just ask Alabama who also lost on the road at the Iron Bowl. However, I was more impressed with Georgia's adjustments in the rematch in the SEC Championship where they ran for 238 yards on 41 carries. Reminder, they will be playing in Atlanta for this game where they will enjoy a bit of a home crowd edge, some say 70%, but 60% may be more accurate.
When looking at Alabama's run defense they don't automatically dominate. Now some of these stats are a bit misleading as they played a ton of games without starting linebackers. Some of their linebackers came back and the defense was great against a Clemson offense that was really one dimensional all year. Alabama lost LB Anfernee Jennings who will be out this week. They faced 5 teams in the top 45 in rushing offense, and only dominated one opponent. They gave up 140 or more yards rushing in each game. They gave up 7 rushing TD's in the 4 games when you take Clemson out of it, but overall against top 45 rushing offenses they allowed 139.8 yards per game, and 3.28 yards per carry which is around 32nd in the nation. My point being don't expect Georgia not to be able to run the ball and set up third and short to mediums in this game. Also keep in mind that Alabama had all of those games but one at home. Their one road game was against Auburn which they lost while allowing 168 yards and 2 TD's. Georgia is a very similar offense, but probably more pro-style with QB taking more snaps under center making it more difficult for the defense to figure out if it's going to be a pass, play action, or a run.
Georgia's #7 QB rated offense vs. Alabama's #2 QB rated defense
Another great match-up to look at and Georgia has faced an opponent with an average 57.1 defense and again faced 6 teams in the top 50 in pass defense with 1 match-up coming with Jacob Eason at QB. Jake Fromm really took over and I was impressed with him down the stretch. In the SEC Championship game against a tough pass rush in Auburn and then at the Rose Bowl in a huge game he played his best game. The staff has a ton of confidence and he makes quick decisions. That was a big reason why they came out throwing against Oklahoma attacking their weakness. Alabama obviously does not have that weakness ranking #2 in pass defense.
Alabama faced an opponent with an average 60.6 QB rating and you know what they say. If you are going to beat Alabama you better have a QB. Alabama faced just 4 opponents in the top 50 in QB rating and 3 of the 4 opponents they got at home while 1 was also a group of 5 team in Colorado State. Ole Miss & LSU struggled at Alabama while Colorado State and Auburn each threw for more than 240 yards, 3 TD's and 2 INT's. Jarret Stidham did not have a ton of long passes and I think Georgia can follow a similar blue print for success in this game with Fromm making the easy throws 5-15 yards away. Alabama will most certainly shut down Georgia's top target Javon Wims with Fitzpatrick, but Wims had 0 catches vs. Auburn and they still were able to win. Watch out for the freshman RB D'Andre Swift if he's in the game he could run some wheel routes that go for game changing yards.
Edge: Slight Georgia
Listen Georgia faced a stronger schedule when comparing the defenses they faced vs. the offenses Alabama's defense faced. Alabama also got most of those games at home with the exception of Auburn whom they lost to. Georgia is the most balanced offense and top rated from an S&P perspective in the country.
I see no reason why Georgia who has a ton of confidence right now can't put up 20-24 points on Alabama's defense. This puts the pressure on the Alabama offense and the big question is can Georgia's defense step up? Join me next time as I answer those questions.