The college football season comes to an end tonight in what will likely be an absolute showcase of NFL draft-able talent. Both rosters feature probable top-ten picks, all the way down to Day 3 gems. If you are at all interested in the draft process, this game is must-see TV. As always, let’s talk about the game, leave questions on prospects and enjoy.
No. 3 Georgia vs. No. 4 Alabama
8:00 PM Eastern, ESPN
Georgia and Alabama are similarly-built teams that will be rivals in the SEC for the foreseeable future. The Georgia Bulldogs managed to fend off Oklahoma last week by relying on their running game and their defense, which stiffened up considerably after the second quarter. Freshman quarterback Jake Fromm may be advanced for his age, but the offense really relies upon their one-two punch at running back with Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. Both backs look like second-day NFL draft picks. Left tackle Isaiah Wynn may be forced to move inside to guard at the next level, but his blocking while on the move is elite.
On defense, the team is anchored by their linebacking corps, which features tackling-machine Roquan Smith as well as the underrated strong-side ‘backer Lorenzo Carter. Defensive tackle Trenton Thompson is a speed rusher in the interior and will look to pressure apply pressure whenever Alabama drops back to pass.
After losing to this same Georgia team in the SEC Championship game, Alabama was fortunately included as a No. 4 seed in the CFB Championship bracket. They managed to steamroll No. 1 seed Clemson last week, proving that they belonged in the tournament. Per usual, Alabama excels at running the ball and stopping the run on defense. Like Georgia, they have two talented running backs in Damien Harris and Bo Scarborough, although neither are as dynamic catching passes as the Georgia pair. Sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurts hasn’t progressed much from last year, but wide receiver Calvin Ridley will make up for a lot of his mistakes. Ridley has clear first-round talent.
The Crimson Tide defense has first round talent at every level. Defensive tackle Da’Ron Payne is a dominant run-stuffer and can occasionally pressure the quarterback. His line mate Da’Shawn Hand is ultra-talented, but is a bit of a DE/DT tweener - and not in a good way. The linebackers are led by inside linebacker Rashaan Evans, who offers pass rushing chops in obvious pass rushing situations. Almost every player in the secondary has next-level ability, especially versatile defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick. Evaluators are almost as high on the other safety, Ronnie Harrison, as a centerfielder. Corners Anthony Averett and Levi Wallace will look to raise their stock both in this game and the Senior Bowl in late January.