On both sides of what is expected to be an epic game, Alabama football fans and Georgia fans are scrutinizing every possible detail to gain confidence in the outcome.
It has been interesting this week, that more than a few Georgia fans have doubts. I suspect that is because a few key Bulldogs will not be 100% and perhaps, well below 100%. Kirby Smart has said nothing definitive, but it is generally believed Brock Bowers and Ladd McConkey will play, along with offensive lineman, Tate Ratledge and wide receiver RaRa Thomas. The top Georgia inside linebacker, Jamon Dumas-Johnson has not played since an injury in the Missouri. Again, there is no official word, but Dumas-Johnson is not expected to play.
Crimson Tide fans are also concerned about injured players. Multiple unofficial reports on Thursday night stated Bama running back, Jase McClellan will not play. Deontae Lawson and Jalen Key apparently will play, but neither player is expected to be at 100%. Alabama defensive lineman, Jaheim Oatis will play as he has for several weeks, with a nagging knee injury.
Alabama is deep at running back but McClellan will be missed. Though he had early season problems, he is dependable in pass protection and is the Tide’s most versatile running back.
Alabama Football and, what does not matter
It does not matter that Georgia has won 29 straight games. It certainly does not matter that Georgia has not beaten Alabama in Atlanta since 1942. That Alabama is going for a 9th straight SEC Championship Game win, will also not affect the outcome on Saturday.
There is also no advantage that Georgia, and likewise Alabama, are built from a Saban system. Yes, the coaching staffs understand each other well, but in games against two evenly matched teams, execution is more important than surprise.
Alabama Crimson Tide and what will matter
The game will be a pressure-cooker but both teams have a roster filled with players that thrive in such contests. Alabama does have the underdog advantage. Georgia has so much riding on the game, especially to possibly later do what no team has ever done in the Poll-Era.
That three-in-a-row National Champions pressure Georgia will feel carries an additional burden. If Georgia wins on Saturday, the torch will be passed to the Bulldogs as the Kings of CFB, and Alabama’s most recent Dynasty will move from shaky standing to dead. Why does that put more pressure on Georgia than Alabama? Because failing to do so would be crushing for the Georgia program.