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The George F. Landegger Collection of Alabama Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith's America, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

Gift; George F. Landegger; 2010; (DLC/PP-2010:090).

Indianapolis, Indiana— The state of motto of Indiana is the "Crossroads of America"and on Monday, January 10th, at 8pm Eastern it will be the crossroads of college football. The Alabama Crimson Tide (13-1) and Georgia Bulldogs (13-1) will face off in the college football title game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana with Alabama looking to repeat as kings of the college football universe. This is a rematch of the SEC title game in which Alabama won 41-24 marking its seventh consecutive victory over Georgia. However, college football fans will also remember that these two schools met in the 2017-2018 college football final. Alabama won this game in a spectacular fashion when future Heisman Trophy winner Tua Tagovailoa was put in at halftime and led the Crimson Tide to a remarkable comeback victory with Tagovailoa throwing a walk-off touchdown pass in overtime to win 26-23.

This time Alabama head coach Nick Saban will look to continue his historic run and add another national title to his resume in which he has a college football record of seven. Coaching Georgia will be Kirby Smart a former defensive coordinator under Saban who has an 0-3 record versus his former boss including the national championship loss. Smart is looking to join Jimbo Fisher as the only former assistant to beat his old boss despite Saban’s collective 25-1 record versus his former coaches.

In their meeting this season, Alabama led by quarterback Bryce Young dominated a historic Georgia defense which had only allowed 6.9 points per game previously. Young passed for over 400 yards and threw 3 touchdowns leading Alabama to score 34 points offensively. On the other side of the ball, Alabama’s defense forced Georgia quarterback Stentson Bennett to throw 2 interceptions in which 1 was returned for a touchdown. Alabama forced Georgia to get out of its comfort zone by scoring early and making Georgia answer touchdown for touchdown.

After its loss to Alabama, Georgia rolled Michigan in the college playoffs semi-final Orange Bowl with its defense only allowing 11 points and securing two touchdowns along with a fumble. The Georgia offense showing up also with Bennett tossing 3 touchdowns and the Bulldogs scoring 34 points. Alabama put on a defensive clinic versus Cincinnati letting them score only 6 points and forcing them to go 0 for 3 on fourth down. The newly minted Heisman Trophy winner Young threw three touchdowns to lead Alabama to a 27-6 victory.

In this highly anticipated rematch Georgia is currently favored by 2.5 points over Alabama with the over/under being 52 points. With the spread this close, bettors are picking Georgia to win outright. However for Georgia to win they must shut down Bryce Young and contain his scrambling abilities. To do that it starts with the pass rush by frequently putting Young on the ground and disrupting his ability to connect to his superstar wide receivers. One receiver in particular Georgia must contain is Jameson Williams who had over 180 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns in the teams previous matchup and is a projected first round NFL draft pick. Georgia offensively must limit its turnovers and get the ball to its star freshman tight end Brock Bowers. It must also not be afraid to throw the ball vertically something that Bennett has the ability to do. For Georgia to be crowned champions of college football, elite play must come from their quarterback.

Even though Alabama won the previous matchup they relied on Bryce Young too much and should not rest on their laurels for this game. The Alabama offense should expect pressure and must be able to give Young enough time to fire the ball to his pass catchers downfield. Defensively, Alabama should blitz more frequently to throw Bennett off balance, forcing the QB to make the wrong reads. Ultimately this game comes down to Saban’s ability to out coach his opponent and beat him in this coaching chess match.

With all this being written and the teams set to take the field, I predict Alabama wins 28-24 with Saban winning his 8th title and keeping the college football trophy in Tuscaloosa.

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