ALABAMA VS. GEORGIA CHAMPIONSHIP FOOTBALL NOTES
SEC Champion Bulldogs Going For Another Title Georgia will be aiming for its third national championship when it faces fourth-seeded Alabama in the College Football Playoff National Championship. The Bulldogs’ last national title came in 1980 when top-ranked Georgia completed an undefeated season with a 17-10 victory over #7 Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl.
The last time Georgia was in this position was in the 1983 Sugar Bowl, when #2 Penn State edged #1 Georgia 27-23. The Bulldogs were led by the legendary Hall of Famer Vince Dooley in both of those matchups. Last month, the Bulldogs registered a 28-7 win over #2 Auburn to claim the SEC title in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Georgia earned its trip to the national title game with a 54-48 double overtime win over Oklahoma. The first came during the 1942 season, when it defeated UCLA 9-0 to clinch the national championship.
The Bulldogs have tied the school record for wins in a season as their 13-1 mark matches the 2002 team. That Georgia team ended its year with a Sugar Bowl win over Florida State. How The SEC Was Won The Bulldogs earned a spot in the CFP by going 12-1 and winning the SEC in year two of the Kirby Smart era. The Bulldogs beat every team on their schedule after winning a rematch 28-7 against then No. 4 Auburn in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta on Dec. 2 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. It was the Bulldogs 13th SEC title in school history and that tally trails only Alabama (26) for most since the league formed in 1933. Georgia’s 31-member senior class has a record of 41-12.
The Bulldogs outscored their since the league split into divisions in 1992, the Bulldogs went a perfect 6-0 versus the SEC East. Against the Western Division, Georgia beat No. 17 Miss. State 31-3 in Athens, fell to No. 10 Auburn 40-17 on the road and then won the rematch in Atlanta. Points To Ponder In 10 of Georgia’s 13 victories this season, the margin of victory has been at least 21 points. The exceptions came in a 20-19 road win over then #24 Notre Dame, a 24-10 home victory over South Carolina and a 54-48 double-overtime win versus #2 Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl Game.
The Bulldog defense posted second half shutouts in road wins over Georgia Tech and versus No. 4 Auburn in the SEC title game. In its only loss of the year coming at then No. 10 Auburn, Georgia was held to 17 points and 230 yards of total offense. In the rematch for the SEC crown, Georgia scored 28 points and had 421 yards of total offense. The History With The Crimson Tide Alabama holds a 38-25-4 edge over Georgia in the series history. The teams last met in 2015 and #13 Crimson Tide picked up a 38-10 victory over #6 Georgia in Athens. Prior to that, the teams meet in the Georgia Dome during the 2012 SEC Championship Game in Atlanta.
#2 Alabama held on in that contest for a 32-28 win over the #3 Bulldogs. Georgia’s last win over Alabama came in 2007 with a 26-23 overtime decision in Tuscaloosa. The Bulldogs were #22 while the Crimson Tide were #16 coming into that game. Bulldogs’ second-year head coach Kirby Smart was hired to lead UGA after coaching at Alabama from 2007 to 2015. Smart was Nick Saban’s defensive coordinator from 2008-15. Georgia defensive coordinator Mel Tucker coached the Crimson Tide defensive backs in 2015 and inside linebackers coach Glenn Schumann worked for Alabama during his undergraduate years and through the 2015 season. In addition, Kevin Sherrer is an Alabama graduate and was on staff in Tuscaloosa from 2010-12.
INSIDE THE SERIES Overall: 68th Meeting (Alabama leads, 38-25-4) Current Streak: Alabama, Won 3 Last Meeting: Oct. 3, 2015 (W, 38-10) Series Notes: The 68th all-time meeting between Alabama and Georgia will take place in the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship Game on Jan. 8 in Atlanta, Ga. Alabama holds a 38-25-4 (.597) lead in the series, which dates back to the 1895 season. The two teams have met once previously outside of regular season SEC play, with the Tide taking a 32-28 decision in the 2012 SEC Championship Game to claim the program’s 23rd SEC title and secure a spot in the national championship game. Nick Saban is 5-2 all-time against Georgia, including a 3-1 mark with the Tide. Former Alabama assistant Kirby Smart is making his first head coaching appearance against the Crimson Tide in his second season at Georgia.
NEUTRAL SITES: Alabama is 85-49-4 (.630) all-time in 138 neutral site contests. The list includes all Alabama-Auburn games not played on campus, including Legion Field from 1948-88. The Crimson Tide is 2-0 in neutral site games in 2017. Alabama opened the season with a 24-7 win over then-No. 3 Florida State in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Sept. 2 and defeated then-No. 1 Clemson, 24-6, in the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans on Jan. 1. The Crimson Tide is 18-5 (.783) in neutral site games during head coach Nick Saban’s tenure at Alabama.
DOME SWEET DOME: The Crimson Tide is 26-7-1 (.779) all-time in domed stadiums, including a 17-2 (.895) mark since 2009 and is 18-4 (.818) in Nick Saban’s tenure. In its two dome games this season, Alabama defeated then-No. 3 Florida State in its 2017 season opener at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Sept. 2 and then No. 1 Clemson, 24-6, in the Allstate Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
ALABAMA VS. THE SEC: The 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship Game will mark the third time Alabama has faced a fellow Southeastern Conference member in the postseason. The Tide defeated Ole Miss, 12-7, in a snowy 1964 Sugar Bowl on the strength of four Tim Davis field goals. Alabama claimed its 14th national title in New Orleans with a 21-0 win over LSU in the 2012 BCS National Championship Game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome as Jeremy Shelley converted a postseason-record five field goals in the win.
12-WIN CLUB: With Alabama’s win over Clemson in the Allstate Sugar Bowl, the Crimson Tide joined Ohio State (2012-15) and Boise State (2008-11) as the third program in college football history to win 12 games in four straight seasons. Alabama enters the College Football National Championship Game with a 12-1 record. The Tide went 14-1 in 2016, 14-1 in 2015 and 12-2 in 2014. Alabama has finished with 12 wins in six of the last seven seasons and eight of 10 years. (2008, 12; 2009, 14; 2011, 12; 2012, 13; 2014, 12; 2015, 14, 2016, 14; 2017, 12).
THREE IN A ROW: Alabama is just the third school to appear in three consecutive national championship games since the inception of the Bowl Coalition in 1992. Nebraska played in three consecutive national championship games from 1993-95 and recorded national championships in the latter two seasons. Florida State played in the first three Bowl Championship Series Championship Games in 1998-2000 and captured the national title in 1999. Alabama is also the only program to play in consecutive national championship games twice in the BCS/CFP era. The Tide appeared in the CFP Championship Game in 2015 and 2016 and the BCS Championship Game in 2011-12.
FOUR-FOR-FOUR: Two Crimson Tide seniors, linebacker Rashaan Evans and punter JK Scott, will be making their seventh appearance in the College Football Playoff when they take the field against Georgia in the CFP National Championship Game on Jan. 8. They became the first four-year players from any school in CFP history when they played in the Allstate Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1. Evans has 30 career tackles in CFP competition, including 18 solo stops and has added 4.5 sacks, 4.5 tackles for loss and a pass breakup in six CFP games. Scott has been a field position weapon, averaging 45.4 yards per punt (1,999 yards on 44 attempts), with a long of 73 yards, which is his career best. Twenty-three of his 44 kicks have landed inside the opponent’s 20-yard line.
TIDE SENIORS POST RECORD-SETTING 52nd WIN: Alabama’s win over Clemson in the Allstate Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1 was the 52nd for members of Alabama’s senior class. The group boasts a four-year record of 52-5 (.912), one national championship, three consecutive Southeastern Conference championships and four College Football Playoff appearances. The 52 wins surpasses the NCAA record set by Alabama’s 2016 senior class, which posted a 51-6 (.895) career record from 2013-16.
KNOCKING OFF NO. 1: Alabama’s win over top-ranked Clemson in the 2018 College Football Playoff at the Allstate Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1 was the program’s ninth victory over the nation’s No. 1 team. The Crimson Tide own a 9-4 record in 13 all-time games against top-ranked teams, which equates to a winning percentage of .692 that is the best in college football history. Alabama is 6-1 against No. 1 teams since Nick Saban took over in Tuscaloosa in 2007. Alabama has de feated Florida (SEC Championship 2009), LSU (BCS 2011), Notre Dame (BCS 2012), Mississippi State (regular season 2014) and Clemson (CFP Championship Game 2016, CFP Semifinal 2018) with the only loss coming to LSU in the 2011 regular season.
SABAN LEADS IN WINS VS. TOP-5 TEAMS: Alabama’s 24-6 win over then-No. 1 Clemson in the Allstate Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1 was Nick Saban’s 20th career victory against a team ranked in the top 5 of the Associated Press Top 25, the most in college football history. Saban’s 20-12 career record in those contests gives him a .625 winning percentage, which is also college football’s best. Following Saban on the all-time victory list are Bobby Bowden (18/.378 winning percentage), Barry Switzer (15/.516), Woody Hayes (15/.516), Steve Spurrier (15/.429) and Lou Holtz (15/.419). That record includes four wins in the College Football Playoff: No. 3 Michigan State (38-0, 2015), No. 1 Clemson (45-40, 2015), and No. 4 Washington (24-7, 2016) and No. 1 Clemson (24-6, 2018). Alabama was also 3-0 in BCS National Championship Games (vs. Texas, 37-21, 2009; vs. LSU, 21-0, 2011; vs. Notre Dame, 42-14, 2012).