And then there were two.
The same two which a month ago played for the SEC Championship. The same two which were pre-season picks to make it this far.
Ahh, the preseason. Remember that time? It’s almost like Spring Training in baseball, where “every team is a contender.” Turns out there are only two contenders and the rest were pretenders – including the other two which were in the College Football Playoffs semifinals.
It’s Alabama and Georgia, the two elephants in the college game. All the others were left out on the lonely plains of the Serengeti to be content with winning the likes of the Duke’s Mayo Bowl (nice mayonnaise bath for the winning coach, by the way but yick!), the SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl, the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, the Tony The Tiger Bowl and, yes, even the Rose Bowl, all left with hopes for better things next year.
All the while the game is evolving, and not necessarily in a good way. Players can’t sit still (except to “opt out” of bowl games and in some cases, entire seasons), coaches can’t sit still and it’s a “show me the (NIL) money” for some greedy players who are entering the transfer portal looking for a better deal.
The teams that can maneuver through this new minefield are the ones that will be playing for titles in the future. And take a guess as to which two might be back in the championship game next year.
And now onto the game. The time is Pacific because the Prognosticator lives on the West Coast.
Alabama vs. Georgia (5 p.m., ESPN, National Championship, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis)
Prove it, Georgia. Prove that you can beat Alabama, that you can beat Alabama in a championship game and that Kirby can outsmart Nick on game day. This is the concern of the Canine fans and the optimism of Crimson Tide fans.
Pardon me if you’ve read this before because you have, right here, in the Prognosticator’s SEC Championship preview. Which was spot-on, by the way.
So why should we expect anything different this time around? Sure Georgia is fired up and out to prove something but don’t you think Alabama is, too? And what about Alabama being a Vegas underdog? The last three times the Tide was an underdog it was against the Dawgs and they won each time.
Of course, the Pachyderms do have concerns to address from the first game. The biggest is to minimize the damage of Georgia tight end Brock Bowers, whose bite is stronger than even the Dawg fans’ bark. The secondary must also not go bust as it has several times this season.
And receiver John Metchie is still out with his season-ending injury.
There is, tho, the “Bryce factor,” as well as the Saban on the sideline. He’s the best preparation coach and in-game adjustment coach in the game. Kirby is only one of those two.
If the Kirby Canines hope to win, they will need to do something the coach has not been willing to do in his tenure at Georgia, and that is to get out of a conservative game plan and literally throw caution to the wind.
An open passing game could stagger the Bama beast and turn the game into a riveting shootout.
I will now revert back to what I wrote for the SEC Championship preview.
If things go sour for Georgia’s offense, will Kirby have the guts to pull his starting quarterback like Saban so boldly did in that memorable “Second and 26” game?
As previously mentioned, until the Dawgs prove they can beat the Tide, look out for more crane kicks from the Bama players. Winner: Alabama