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UGA-Bama add to SEC's already impressive national title collection

UGA-Bama add to SEC's already impressive national title collection
Posted at 5:45 PM, Jan 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-08 02:34:05-05

ATLANTA, GA (RNN) - No matter who wins tonight, the Southeastern Conference will win another national championship in college football.

No. 3 Georgia and No. 4 Alabama just need to determine who gets to take home the trophy. The two will meet tonight at Atlanta's Mercedes Benz Stadium in the College Football Playoff Final.

Alabama (12-1) is making its third consecutive trip to the title game and looking for its second title in three years. Georgia (13-1) is seeking its first national championship since 1980. Bama leads the all-time series with the Bulldogs 38-55-4.

Nick Saban has never lost to one of his former assistant coaches either. The fact that Kirby Smart is UGA's head coach will put that streak to the test.

Recent history seems to also favor the Crimson Tide tonight. The Tide has won the last three meetings between the two.

It’s the first time in the short history of the playoff system the No. 3 and 4 seeds have advanced to the championship game.

The game will display a sense of pride for both schools and the conference in general. The uproar after Bama and LSU played for the 2012 BCS National Championship in New Orleans led to the creation of the playoff system.

After just four years with the playoff system, the SEC already has two teams in the finals again. And just like 2012 when Alabama and LSU played for the title, the game is being played in the heart of SEC country.

But for the conference, it’s business as usual. Of the last 11 title games, the SEC has won nine.

Alabama and Georgia seemed destined to meet in the conference championship game almost all season. Auburn made a mess of that idea.

UGA had to fight back into the playoff picture after a late-season 40-17 loss at Auburn. The Dawgs avenged that loss by soundly defeating the Tigers 28-7 in the SEC championship game.

The Tide also fell victim to Auburn late in the season. They failed to even make an appearance in the conference title game after falling to the Tigers 26-14.

Even so, Ohio State’s 27-21 victory over Wisconsin in the Big 10 title game created the opening Bama needed to take the No. 4 seed.

In the semifinals, UGA mounted a come-from-behind 54-48 double-overtime win over No. 2 Oklahoma. The game ran so long, Bama’s game against No. 1 Clemson had already started by the time UGA’s ended.

Alabama dominated the reigning champions 24-6 and guaranteed a new champion will be crowned on tonight.

As for the title game, the Crimson Tide must figure out a way to stop or slow down the Bulldogs’ rushing attack.

Sony Michel and Nick Chubb lit up Oklahoma’s front seven and rushed for a combined 326 yards. Michel led with 181 and Chubb followed with 145.

Both backs earned more than 1,000 yards this season.

While Oklahoma and the Big XII are not known for defense, the Bulldogs proved they are able to win a shootout with a high-powered offense.

Alabama, however, is known for its defense, and held Clemson to just 188 total yards and two field goals.

Offensively, Bama fared slightly better with 261 yards and three touchdowns. In terms of yardage, Alabama underwhelmed. But it did enough to control the clock and win the field position battle, making a Clemson comeback less likely.

The Tide’s rushing attack has been more of a threat than its passing game all season. Jalen Hurts gives opposing defenses fits with his ability to tuck the ball and run and his instinct to prevent turnovers.

Hurts passed for 2,060 yards this season, but he also rushed for 808.  As a quarterback, he has 19 more carries than leading rusher Damien Harris.

Harris has 983 yards on the ground.

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