Alabama owns the all-time advantage, 37-25-4, including a 14-10 mark in Athens. The Bulldogs, who haven’t won a SEC title since 2005, can prove Saturday they are a championship contender – but that’s just the sort of big-picture talk that Richt wants to avoid. He’ll be a full go against the Bulldogs. Alabama is rated third in the poll that determines which four teams will play in the four-team College Football Playoff.
The 13th-ranked Crimson Tide, for so long accustomed to favored status every fall Saturday, heads to No. 8 Georgia Saturday trying to pull off what odds makers say would be a minor upset. At the very least, it was headed in that direction when Mark Richt first took the reins in Athens.
But whatever scraps remain from the aura of invincibility Alabama constructed between beating Florida in the 2009 SEC title game – the last time they entered a game as the underdog before this one – and the Kick-Six in 2013, those will be discarded for good.
The Bulldogs (4-0, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) were installed as modest 2.5-point favorites to open the week.
For coach Nick Saban, it’s how you respond to a loss that matters. You can play mentally tough all day, but if you don’t have the right mindset and you’re not mentally strong out there and still looking at your keys and knowing what’s going on with the play and what call you’re in, it doesn’t matter.
As for this game going a ways toward defining Georgia’s season, Mitchell said, “I look at it like this: If we win a game, we build momentum”.
Offensively, things start with sophomore tailback Nick Chubb for the Bulldogs. If Chubb ties Herschel Walker’s school record for consecutive 100-yard games, he’s going to have to do it the hard way.
They are fifth in the SEC in rushing, averaging 202.5 yards per game, and Derrick Henry is tied with LSU’s Leonard Fournette for the SEC-lead with eight rushing touchdowns.
Don’t expect the Rebels to do any complaining, though, because for the second straight year Alabama’s fumble issues on kick returns played a huge part in Ole Miss pulling out a win.
Players don’t look at betting lines or worry about that kind of stuff, but that doesn’t mean they’re not aware of it.
Few defenses are good enough to neutralize Nick Chubb and Georgia’s dominant running game.
Kickoff coverage: This is arguably where Alabama’s been its best on special teams. The matchup will be the Tide’s first of the season on CBS, with Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson and Allie LaForce covering the action. “Our front seven, it goes without saying how good they are”.
A 5-yard pass from Chad Kelly to Quincy Adeboyejo advanced the ball to Alabama’s 1-yard line. 1 Mississippi State last season, for instance. Now the betting odds for the game have Georgia favored to pick up the win. Offensively, both use a pro style that relies heavily on the running backs and uses the quarterback as a game manager. Force the other team to drive the length of the field. It must be said that these are never the best five players in action across the country, but rather a quintet of athletes with the ability to make an impact on that week’s contest in a unique way. “They haven’t allowed anyone to rush for 100 yards on them this year”.