The Alabama Crimson Tide is coming off an impressive victory over top-seeded Clemson in the Sugar Bowl and now plays Georgia in Atlanta for the College Football Playoff national title. Here are four key questions UA must answer:
1. Can Alabama stop the run?
Georgia has two strong running backs in Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. Alabama will seek to make the Bulldogs one-dimensional and force Georgia to pass. It won’t be easy, but UA leads the nation in run defense, allowing less than 92 yards per game. Georgia averages 263 yards on the ground. Something has to give.
2. Will Alabama be able to run?
Alabama is also a run-first offense, with Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough leading the way. The Crimson Tide averages 256 yards per game on the ground and will need a strong running game to set up play-action pass opportunities. Georgia’s run defense allows 121 yards per game – which isn’t much, but the Bulldogs are stronger against the pass.
3. Who wins the turnover battle?
Alabama ranks fifth in turnover margin at plus-13, while Georgia is 34th at plus-5. The Crimson Tide has 22 takeaways while throwing two interceptions and losing seven fumbles. Georgia has forced 19 turnovers but has lost seven fumbles and thrown seven interceptions. Each side is good at forcing turnovers and will look for game-turning takeaways. The winner in this category may have the edge.
4. Is it going to be like a Georgia home game?
Playing Georgia at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta isn’t quite the same as playing the Bulldogs in Athens, Ga., but the fan split should favor the home-state team. A lot of corporate tickets will end up in the hands of Georgia fans. Alabama will be well-represented, but will probably be outnumbered in the stands.