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ALABAMA AT GEORGIA

CLASSIC SEC SHOWDOWN

9/27/08

3* Alabama +7 over Georgia - This game has all the indications of being a classic SEC primetime battle that comes down to a last second field goal to win it. As a matter of fact, there's far more evidence to support that outcome than a one sided affair.

One glaring reason is Alabama's history of playing close games. While Nick Saban is getting a lot of credit for this due to last years results, a closer look shows us that perhaps the talent in general, at Alabama over the years, deserves the real credit. For instance, one stat being thrown around this week by tout sheets is that Saban and Bama only lost one game by more than a touchdown last year, in Saban's first year. But dig a little deeper and you'll find plenty of close games before Saban got there. How about this. If you gave Alabama +7 points in every game for the last 5 years, not including this year, they would be 41-13 against the spread. If you just took the last 3 years, they would be 26-5 ATS.

Close games and Alabama go hand in hand. The important thing to remember is that during that 5 year stretch, Alabama had some mediocre results in the win loss column. 4-9, 6-6 and 6-7 mixed in with 2 winning years. So while Bama was having losing years, and firing coaches, they were still keeping it close on the scoreboard. That's a testament to the talent that goes to Alabama. In Sabans first year, they started turning some of those close losses into wins. This year their wins aren't even close, winning by an average margin of 36-9 and while the competition level can be questioned, they did knock off Clemson in week one.

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People like to mention Quarterbacks and Running Backs when they talk about a football team and their successes or failures, but the unsung heroes are always the offensive and defensive lines. Without the guys in the trenches, we wouldn't know the names of these star QB's and Backs. This is precisely where Alabama is getting it done, both lines. If you've watched ESPN at all this week you've likely seen footage of Bama Nose Tackle, 365 pound Terrence Cody. This kid can disrupt an entire offense singlehandedly. While Georgia will no doubt spend some extra time on him this week, what can you really do? Focus too much on him and that opens the door for someone else to get to Georgia QB Matt Stafford.

There is no knock on Georgia here. But there's clearly more pressure on them. They were handed a lofty #1 ranking before a single game was played this year. Often times teams have a hard time living up to expectations when that happens. But, so far so good. We really have just two games to judge, last week at Arizona State and their previous game at South Carolina. They dominated Arizona State last week and held South Carolina to just 18 yards rushing but the Gamecocks were able to move the ball through the air to the tune of 271 yards

Georgia's home field advantage figures to be even more pronounced this week. It's their "blackout game". It's only happened 3 times in modern history. The team will wear it's black jerseys as will every person who walks through the gates of the stadium. It's a prime time, National TV affair and the crew from ESPN will be their live all day. The place will be a mad house. There's a reason they call it a home field advantage and that advantage WILL come into play Saturday Night.

All the same, we're comfortable taking a touchdown with Bama. If this were a court case being decided before a jury, all the evidence would be pointing towards a close game with an outright upset not an impossibility. These are the kinds of games we like to play. Smash Mouth, old fashioned SEC football. Talent on both sides of the ball. Neither team beating themselves. Both teams are plus in turnovers with Bama at +4 and Georgia at +3. The talent in this one is even. Mistakes and big plays will decide this one. We'll take our chances. 3* Alabama +7

 

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