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Wayne Staats | NCAA.com | December 1, 2018

Alabama-Georgia: Prediction, preview for SEC Championship Game

Alabama and Georgia are set to meet again in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, with SEC Championship and College Football Playoff implications. Below, find the preview and predictions.

In last year's game, the Tide and the Bulldogs played for the national crown. This time, it's for the SEC title and a spot in the CFP semifinals. It's the biggest game of what's set up to be an exciting Saturday.

Alabama-Georgia: Prediction, preview for SEC Championship Game

Alabama is 12-0, ranked No. 1, the defending national champion AND has the Heisman front-runner in Tua Tagovailoa. There's no reason to go in thinking the Tide is anything other than a clear favorite.

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But if any team could challenge Alabama, it's Georgia. In the 26-23 overtime thriller for the national championship a season ago, the Bulldogs led 20-7 before Tagovailoa came in for Jalen Hurts and led the comeback charge.

Georgia is 11-1, but has looked better since losing to LSU by 20 on October 13. Since then, the Bulldogs routed ranked foes Florida and Kentucky by 19 and 17 points. They then set aside Auburn, 27-10. Last week, Georgia then gave Georgia Tech a 45-21 drubbing in what ended up being Jackets coach Paul Johnson's final game. So Georgia is probably feeling confident.

It's easy to wonder, with weekly 'Bama blowouts, how the Tide would respond in a close game. Alabama hasn't been pushed deep into games this season...but then again, Tagovailoa had his coming out party as a freshman by leading Alabama to a huge rally in the biggest game of the year against Georgia. So that wondering could be overblown.

Alabama-Georgia: How they compare

Alabama Stat/Leader Georgia
49.0 Points per game 40.8
13.8 Points allowed 17.2
538.0 Yards per game 480.8
282.2 Yards allowed 303.5

Tua Tagovailoa
3,189 yards (36 TDs, 2 INTs)

Passing yards Jake Fromm
2,236 yards (24 TDs, 5 INTs)
Damien Harris
719 yards, 7 TDs
Rushing yards D'Andre Swift
962 yards, 9 TDs
Jerry Jeudy
1,079 yards, 11 TDs
Receiving yards Mecole Hardman
519 yards, 6 TDs

How Alabama could win: It's Alabama. It's simple but it says so much. Tagovailoa has been the most talked about player this year, and a good showing against Georgia could very well lock up the Heisman. Plus, after blanking both LSU and Mississippi State and scoring 52 points against Auburn, Alabama hasn't shown many weaknesses in recent weeks.

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How Georgia could win: The Bulldogs know they can play with Alabama — they almost beat the Tide last season. They'll also probably welcome being seen as the underdog for once. All season long, Georgia has been a favorite in its games. Now it can play up being the underdog. If Jake Fromm gets protection and Georgia runs for enough yards, the Bulldogs will keep it close in the fourth quarter. That's more than any other Alabama foe can say about this year.

Alabama-Georgia: Score

Georgia will keep it close for a while. If the Bulldogs can play their game and sustain drives, Alabama will actually be asked to play four quarters for once.

If Georgia does in fact push Alabama for most of the game, the Bulldogs would make an argument that they deserve consideration for the College Football Playoff, even with two losses, and even if Ohio State and Oklahoma win conference titles.

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Alabama would be tough to keep out of the CFP if it loses a close game tomorrow, but it probably won't need to sit and wonder how things will turn out. Tagovailoa is Tagovailoa and the Tide will win, putting Georgia away for good with a late touchdown.

Prediction: Alabama 35, Georgia 24