2018-01-08 / Sports

S-E-C S-E-C! Georgia vs. Alabama for national championship


S-E-C! S-E-C!

Alabama and Georgia won their College Football Playoff semifinals last Monday and will meet in the national championship tonight in Atlanta, the home of the Southeastern Conference title game.

"Couldn't have scripted it better in some ways," SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said. "It will be one of the sweetest drives from Birmingham (Alabama, where the SEC offices are located) to Atlanta that we've ever experienced."

The fourth-ranked Crimson Tide smothered No. 1 Clemson 24-6 in their Sugar Bowl rubber match after the third-ranked Bulldogs won the first overtime in Rose Bowl history, a wild 54- 48 victory that eliminated No. 2 Oklahoma and Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield.

It will be the second time in seven seasons that the national title will come down to two SEC teams. Alabama beat LSU in New Orleans to win the 2011 championship.

At least this all-SEC affair Monday night won't be a rematch: Georgia and Alabama did not play in 2017.

Both will be making a return trip to Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Alabama started its season in the shiny new home of the Atlanta Falcons by beating Florida State. The Tide hoped it would be the first of three trips to Atlanta, but it let the second one slip away. Alabama's regular-season finale loss at Auburn cost the Tide the SEC West and spot in the conference title game against Georgia.

It did not, however, cost the Crimson Tide a playoff spot. The College Football Playoff selection committee gave Alabama the final spot even though the Tide failed to win its conference. Did Alabama deserve the benefit of the doubt after a season in which it was low on marquee victories? Ohio State fans didn't think so, and the Buckeyes finished fifth in the final CFP rankings.

Fueled by the doubters, Alabama smashed the defending national champions from Clemson. The Crimson Tide will be playing in the title game for the third straight season and looking for its fifth national championship under Nick Saban since 2009.

The Bulldogs made the playoff by avenging a late-season loss to Auburn, beating the Tigers in the SEC title game on Dec. 2 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, about 70 miles from its campus in Athens.


No. 4 Alabama vs. No. 2 Georgia. 8 p.m. tonight ESPN.

Nick Saban is going for his sixth national championship, which would tie Paul Bear Bryant.

Georgia QB Jake Fromm, a freshman from Warner Robins, Georgia, led the Bulldogs to a 13-1 record, their first SEC championship since 2005 and a 54- 48 victory over Oklahoma in a College Football Playoff semifinal.

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