The Post’s Zach Braziller is the No. 1 seed at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. No. 1 Alabama (13-1) and No. 1 seed. 3 Georgia (13-1) breaks a national championship game (Monday, 8 p.m., ESPN).
When Alabama has the ball
This is the story of the confrontation: Can Georgia’s top-ranked defense recur after a beatdown taken a month ago in the SEC Championship game? The unit, which allowed just 7.2 points per game in its other 13 games, was shredded by Bryce Young, Jameson Williams and Company for 41 points and 536 total yards. It failed to produce a single bag. Don’t expect history to recur. The Bulldogs are far better, with the next level of talent – defensive tackle Jordan Davis and linebacker Nakob Dean first round picks – to shred again. The absence of leading receiver John Meechy III (torn ACL) is more pronounced here than in Cincinnati’s Cotton Bowl Route, as Georgia is unable to push the Crimson Tide Bearcats. Young, a Heisman Trophy winner, does his share of plays, but the Georgia defense will also have its moments.
When Georgia has the ball
Stetson has faced Bennett IV Alabama twice – and threw five interceptions. Georgia has lost those games by 17 points. The Crimson Tide once again puts the game on the right-hand side of the previous walk-on, loaded against the Bulldogs’ strong attack. Bennett threw for 340 yards in the first meeting, though after a lot of play was at hand. And they have to face improved defense, except for a dirty performance against Arkansas, who has performed well in the last two-plus months and ranks third in the nation with 52 sacks.
Both kickers, Jack Podlesny of Georgia and Will Reichard of Alabama, missed out on the semifinals once, but are as dependent on college kickers as they are. Keep an eye on Williams of Alabama in the return game. He has pulled back two kickoffs for touchdowns on just 10 returns.
Nick Saban has faced the former assistant coach 27 times and lost only once this season to Jimbo Fisher and Texas A&M. He has been Kirby Smart, his former defensive coordinator since Smart moved to Georgia. Looking forward to his record eighth title, Saban is twice as good as Smart in the SEC championship game four years ago and once in the national title game.
Game-deciding players (non-quarterbacks)
LB Will Anderson Jr., Alabama: Numbers – 17.5 sacks, 98 tackles, 34.5 tackles for loss – are irrelevant. The sophomore has had at least one sack in his last eight games and should be a Heisman Trophy finalist. You don’t stop him. You’re hoping to slow him down.
WR Zachary Brooks, Alabama: Georgia is not letting Williams single-handedly defeat it after a seven-catch, 184-yard, two-touchdown masterpiece a month ago, which should create opportunities for five-star freshman Brooks, who began to emerge. . His 44-yard touchdown catch helped keep Cincinnati away. Remember, Devonta Smith was an undefeated newcomer in the title game four years ago for the Crimson Tide against Georgia.
TE Brock Bowers, Georgia: Just newcomers, Bowers is already one of the major tight ends in the sport. It can be argued that he is the best man in the country. Alabama may know – Bowers burned the Crimson Tide for 10 catches, 139 yards and a touchdown in the SEC title game.
Alabama has one of the greatest college football coaches of all time and the best players on the field at Young and Anderson. This is not the same as the romp of the SEC championship game. This is reminiscent of the 2018 title game, as the Young Crimson rallied the Tide late, hitting Brooks for a game-winning touchdown in the final minutes. As Alabama defeated Georgia for the eighth consecutive year, Anderson iced it with a strip-sack, his third sack of the game.
Alabama 28, Georgia 24