Alabama Football: Why Georgia beating Oklahoma helps the Tide

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 12: The Ohio State Buckeyes kick off to the Oregon Ducks during the College Football Playoff National Championship Game at AT
ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 12: The Ohio State Buckeyes kick off to the Oregon Ducks during the College Football Playoff National Championship Game at AT /

Alabama football fans should thank Georgia for beating Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl. Now, the Crimson Tide has the advantage in the national championship.

The stage is set. The curtain rises. Yet, the spotlight cannot find the recent Heisman Trophy winner, come January 8th.

The Georgia Bulldogs are responsible for knocking out Oklahoma and their star Baker Mayfield from making it to the national championship game. For that, Alabama football fans should be entirely grateful.

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For the last two national championships, Alabama’s defense has had to face one of the greatest college football quarterbacks to ever live in Deshaun Watson. Over the years, the Crimson Tide has had to deal with many top quarterbacks who have been wily in their ways, making life difficult if not impossible.

With that in mind, Alabama must think that they will have a refreshing change by facing Jake Fromm.

By Georgia taking out Oklahoma from the equation, Alabama’s defense has a much simpler job to perform on Monday night.

That is not to say Fromm is a terrible quarterback, though. The freshman quarterback has done an excellent job under head coach Kirby Smart, earning 2 383 yards and 23 touchdowns to only five interceptions this season. Fromm led the Bulldogs to only one loss, against the same team that gave Alabama their only loss, against Auburn.

To put the cherry on the sundae, nobody would have expected that the Bulldogs would have come out on top of a shootout against Oklahoma, the best team ranking for total offense in the country. The Bulldogs were supposed to hold Mayfield and the rest of the Sooners’ balanced offense if Georgia was to have any chance at victory. Instead, the Sooners put up 48 points in the Rose Bowl; Georgia just happened to put up 54 points in an overtime victory.

It takes a special kind of leader to beat someone like Baker Mayfield. The senior star quarterback was second to none in terms of leadership on the field. He rallied the troops on offense and defense almost on every play, making his will power theirs. Mayfield did not use his legs much, but his athleticism was always on display when called upon for a rush of his own.

Mayfield passed for 4 627 yards and 43 touchdowns in just 14 games, this season. He threw only six interceptions and had a QB rating of 198.9, much higher than Fromm’s 166.4 rating. In 97 rush attempts, Mayfield earned 311 yards and five touchdowns, making him a duel threat when needed and an unpredictable weapon of choice.

Add to that all of Oklahoma’s formations and variances on those setups and one can see how complicated it is to prepare for Mayfield and the Sooners. Fortunately for Alabama, they don’t need to do so.

Georgia likes to run the ball. One cannot blame them when they have running backs like Nick Chubb and Sony Michel racking up yardage. The two men have earned a combined 2 449 yards, which averages to just over 7 yards per carry, and 31 touchdowns.

That strategy plays right into Alabama’s hands. The Crimson Tide are ranked second in the country for defending the run. They have only allowed 1 129 yards on 409 carries, an average of 2.8 yards per attempt and 94.1 yards per game.

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As far as Fromm is concerned, Alabama will not be sweating him. As good as he is, Fromm likes to stay in the pocket and throw back-shoulder passes to the outside. Almost every game that Fromm has started for Georgia, the television commentators have announced to the world where Fromm likes to deliver his passes to his receivers.

Fromm is great at throwing that kind of pass, but it also makes him into a one-trick pony instead of a wild bronco to tame.

The Crimson Tide are also not the Sooners. Alabama is ranked third in passing yards allowed per game, giving up and average of 160.6 yards. Oklahoma wasn’t even in the top 50. Teams like Buffalo and Fresno State had better pass defenses than the Sooners, who gave up a whopping 238.4 yards per game through the air. Oklahoma relied on Mayfield to outscore their opponents, while Alabama’s defense helped their offense secure victories.

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Georgia will be a tough team to play against, with no quit in them, but they will be much easier to plan against. Mayfield would have been much harder to figure out and the Sooners multiple formations would have forced the Crimson Tide to adjust their defensive schemes. Fromm’s basic strategy will allow Alabama to prepare all week for how to take him and the Georgia offense apart.

Oklahoma’s defeat may have ensured Alabama’s fifth national title in nine years. For that, Crimson Tide fans should be grateful to Georgia, if Alabama executes their plan properly.