Alabama football is looking for a first on Monday.
In the NFL, teams are used to rematches in the division. This is a rare occurrence in college football, and Alabama football rarely sees teams twice in one season. Saban has never beaten a team twice in one year, but that is mostly because the opportunities haven’t been there. The only rematch he’s had was against LSU in 2011, and the Tide had to get revenge in that game.
College football isn’t built for rematches. The Tide would never see a rematch in the regular season. They’d either have to see a team in the SEC Championship again or in the postseason. SEC Championship rematches are hard because teams only play two teams across the division, and it’s hard to run the divisional table after a loss from the other side.
This will be the first rematch in College Football Playoff history. The Clemson Tigers and Notre Dame Fighting Irish were both in the College Football Playoff last year despite playing each other twice already, but they weren’t able to win their respective semifinal games.
In terms of the game itself, beating a team twice presents its challenges. You don’t gameplan to beat a team twice. You leave it all out there the first time if you have to. Both teams now know what the opponent is planning to do, so you have to go deep in your bag of tricks to surprise them.
Alabama showed its hand in the SEC Championship. They got creative in the passing game and were willing to move Bryce Young to extend plays. Georgia will be ready for that. Alabama will need to add wrinkles to the offense once again to keep the Bulldogs on their toes.
Thankfully, Alabama football has over a week to prepare. They know what Georgia is capable of, so they should be ready to stop it. Still, it will be a first if Saban can beat the Bulldogs twice in one year.