No. 13 Alabama Crimson Tide (3-1 SU, 1-3 ATS) vs. No. 7 Georgia Bulldogs (4-0 SU, 2-2 ATS)
College Football Week 5
Date/Time: Saturday October 3rd, 3:30PM EST
Where: Sanford Stadium Athens, G.A.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: ALA +2/UGA -2
Over/Under Total: 52.5
An enormous matchup will go down between the hedges this Saturday when the 13th ranked Alabama Crimson Tide travel to Athens for a meeting with the no. 7 Georgia Bulldogs. This interesting matchup includes two of the best teams in the SEC. The Bulldogs look to have clear control of the SEC East and they could have a big say in how the SEC West race unfolds with this weekends matchup against Alabama. The Crimson Tide already suffered a loss to Ole Miss just two weeks ago and another loss could nearly eliminate them from any SEC Championship or college football playoffs consideration in just the 5th week of the season.
I am sure that nobody expected Alabama to be out of the SEC Championship after the first week of October but that is the exact predicament that Nick Sabans team is facing. To make matters worse, Georgia has been manhandling opponents on the offensive side of the football with one of the best offenses in the country. The Bulldogs dynamic rushing attack is averaging more than 250 yards per game on the ground behind the premiere talents of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. Last week, Chubb tied Herschel Walkers school record streak of 12 straight games of 100 yards rushing with 131 yards on just 15 carries against Southern.
Any time a Georgia running back gets into comparison with Herschel Walker, the 1982 Heisman winner, it is a great honor but when you start eclipsing the same records as Walker then you have made it to another level. In fact, Chubb has started his own Heisman Trophy campaign with his great start to 2015 that includes 599 yards with 7 total touchdowns. Chubb has averaged a lucrative 8.4 yards per touch with the football while fellow running back Sony Michel has averaged 7.0 yards per touch in limited action behind Chubb. Together the two tailbacks have been incredible in the Georgia backfield and they will face their biggest challenge of the season this week against Alabama.
If Chubb is going to break Herschel Walkers all-time mark with his 13th straight 100 yard performance, he is going to have to do it against one of the better run defenses in the entire country. Alabamas defense has been incredible against the run for the entirety of Nick Sabans tenure in Tuscaloosa. Saban notoriously recruits the best offensive and defensive lineman in football. This year Alabamas defensive front has 3 guys that could go in the top 2 rounds of next years NFL draft. The Crimson Tides defense has been beastly against the run allowing just 56 yards per game.
Even in a 43-37 loss to Ole Miss, Alabamas defense did great against the run despite being on the field nearly all game. This week we will see just how good Alabamas defense is when they take on Georgias elite running threats. This colossal Alabama front vs. Georgia offensive front will be the battle to watch that likely determines the outcome of the game. On the other side of the ball, it will be a similar matchup with the Alabama offensive front against an improved Georgia defense. Alabama running back Derrick Henry has walked in 8 touchdown already this season while quarterback Jake Coker continues to improve with each passing week. I imagine that Alabama will have some degree of success on offense but ultimately what will decide this game will be their defenses ability to stop the run to stay off the field.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I think it is easy to back Alabama in this must-win situation for Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide. However, I think this Georgia team may be the better football team especially when you consider this game will be between the hedges. I like the team with a little more to prove in this situation that will be the sharp play. Also consider the fact that Georgia has covered 4 of their last 5 meetings ATS against Alabama and I am taking the Bulldogs minus the two.
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