If you witnessed third-seeded Georgia’s absolutely thrilling comeback win over No. 2 Oklahoma in their Rose Bowl semifinal matchup last weekend then you witnessed a game that will be talked about for generations.
If you’re now giving some serious consideration to backing the Bulldogs in their 2018 CFP national championship matchup against fourth-seeded Alabama, then I’ve got five great reasons why the SEC champions could pull off the big upset over the national championship runner-ups from last season.
Bet Georgia To Win The 2017 National Title Because…
1. Rush Attack
There aren’t many teams that have a better and more powerful rushing attack than Alabama, but Georgia is one of them! The Bulldogs feature two superstar running backs that will be playing on Sundays in the NFL very soon in Nick Chubb and Sonny Michel. Not only did the pair set a Rose Bowl record for combined rushing yards by two running back with Michel rushing for 181 yards and three scores and Chubb adding 145 yards and two touchdowns, but the pair were simply prolific all season long. Chubb rushed for a stellar 1,320 yards and 15 touchdowns while averaging 6.4 yards per carry while Michel added 1,129 yards and 16 scores while averaging a stupendous 8.0 yards per carry. Hell, the Bulldogs have another, but lesser-known running back that has stardom in his future as well in gifted third-stringer D’Andre Swift who chipped in 603 rushing yards and three touchdowns this season while averaging a stupendous 7.8 yards per carry.
2. Head Coach "Smart"s
Now in his second season at Georgia, head coach Kirby Smart knows Alabama and Nick Saban as well as any coach in college football. That could help the Bulldogs in their quest to pull off the big upset. Smart was Nick Saban’s defensive coordinator with the Tide from 2008-2015 and that means he should know how to attack Alabama’s defense and what plays to call when he sees specific defensive alignments from the Crimson Tide in the national championship. Whether the student can out-coach the teacher remains to be seen, but Smart has clearly built a program at Georgia that is eerily identical to Alabama’s and that alone means they should be able to hang with the Tide throughout the national championship.
3. The Defense
In keeping with the Kirby Smart thing, clearly the Tide’s former defensive coordinator knows how to build an elite defense and devise a defensive scheme that produces jaw-dropping results. This season, Georgia’s eye-opening success was first and foremost, the result of their shut-down defense. The Bulldogs ranked an encouraging sixth in total defense (289.5 ypg), eighth against the pass (167.6 ypg) and 20th against the run (121.9 ypg) while finishing a stellar fifth in points allowed (15.7 ppg). Linebacker Roquan Smith is a first-team All-American and sideline-to-sideline ‘beast’ that won SEC Defensive Player of the Year award and more prestigious Butkus award as the nation’s top linebacker. While the Bulldogs don’t really have a bunch of big-name players right now, you had best believe that scoring on them doesn’t come easily, even if Baker Mayfield and the Sooners put up 48 points on them in their shootout of a semifinal matchup last weekend.
4. The Quarterback
True freshman quarterback Jake Fromm certainly doesn’t get much attention seeing as how Georgia is all about their defense and rushing attack, but I’ve got to say. After watching the freshman signal-caller all season, he’s pretty darned good and looks like he could make it at the next level if he continues to improve. I like Fromm’s poise in the pocket and the fact that he doesn’t seem to get rattled very often. The first-year signal-caller completed an impressive 63.7 percent of his passes while throwing for 2,383 yards with 23 touchdowns, but it is his lack of interceptions (just five) that has impressed me most. I know Kirby Smart has played a brand of football that doesn’t place his young quarterback under a lot of duress to make big plays, but when he has been called upon to make them, he’s delivered more often than not. If Alabama somehow manages to shut down Georgia’s rushing attack, Fromm could be the key to whether Georgia wins the national championship or not.
5. There’s No Place Like Home
The 2018 national championship will be played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, making it, for all intents and purposes, a home game for the Bulldogs. Georgia could feed off of what should be a slightly increased number of home fans and that ‘12t man’ could give them the extra boost they’ll need in order to get past the more experienced Crimson Tide. However, you should know that, while Georgia is the first team to play a national championship game in its home state since LSU played in New Orleans back in 2012 –those Tigers lost that BCS title tilt to – of all teams – Alabama.