Alabama football could not overcome a rash of injuries and an overwhelming defensive effort by the Georgia Bulldogs, losing the national championship game 33-18.
Any loss is going to be disappointing and frustrating, particularly one to a conference rival with a national title on the line. Alabama football had countless miscues on both sides of the ball that ultimately cost it the game.
I don’t want to make excuses, because Georgia made the plays they needed to win. They looked like the better team last night, and for the majority of the season. Additionally, the Bulldogs had plenty of adversity and injuries in their own right.
However, I think context is important. We knew as soon as the confetti fell at the end of last season that this would be more of a rebuilding year, or at least as close as Alabama football gets to a rebuilding year. The injuries that Alabama suffered throughout the season, particularly on offense and towards the end of the year, made the journey much more difficult and finally caught up to this team.
Alabama played much of the national championship (against a top five defense) missing two of its top three running backs and its top two receivers. Georgia pressured Bryce Young repeatedly, and it was clear that the quarterback struggled to find somewhere reliable to go with the ball. Agiye Hall and Jacorey Brooks both flashed every once in a while, but neither was prepared to be the difference maker the Alabama offense needed.
Once again, Georgia had several injuries on the offensive side of the ball as well, including JT Daniels and George Pickens. The difference is that most of these injuries took place before the season, therefore the team that Georgia was once the year began was not impacted as greatly. In fact, Georgia was adding players to its lineup as the season progressed. Alabama, on the other hand, established its offense before losing critical piece after critical piece in the second half of the season.
If there is any positive to come out of this game, it is the potential impact on the 2022 team. This loss could sway the decisions of several draft eligible players that could be instrumental in the Tide’s title run next season. The 2022 team also has a little bit of added motivation. There is now a revenge narrative in play for Nick Saban and Alabama football, which is usually bad news for the rest of the country.
Alabama football will return Bryce Young and Will Anderson, arguably the best players in college football on their respective sides of the ball. Dallas Turner is a budding star, and showed it last night even in a losing effort. If it can retain some of its junior class, this should be an elite 2022 Alabama defense. It will also bring back several key pieces on offense, and should be much deeper and healthier at running back.
In the coming days and weeks, we will learn more and more about how the 2022 roster will shake out. The team should be loaded, and should improve significantly from the 2021 season. Now, it also has a bitter taste that will stay in its mouth all offseason.