The SEC Championship features a familiar game on Saturday afternoon. The Alabama Crimson Tide and Georgia Bulldogs will meet in a rematch of the National Championship from a season ago. It was the birthplace of Tua Tagovailoa, as he arrived on the scene with a memorable second-half performance and hasn’t looked back since. The offense looked stale in the first-half with Jalen Hurts at the controls.
Tua instantly provided a jolt and directed Alabama back to force overtime and then throw the winner. With that said, there were massive expectations on him this season. He met those expectations and exceeded them this season. Tagovailoa is setting himself up to win the Heisman Trophy nearly a year after dazzling the country in the National Championship.
He did all that cold off the bench, so he has gotten even better with time to get better acclimated with the offense. He threw for 166 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception after Hurts was 3-for-8 with 21 yards. They needed a jolt and he provided exactly that.
The Heisman is between Kyler Murray and Tua. Murray has been making his case, especially after his dominating performance over West Virginia on the road last week. I think it’s going to be difficult for Murray to pull it off, not with how dominant Alabama has been. Oklahoma have a loss and some close calls in other games. No one has been able to hang with the Crimson Tide. The near losses for the Sooners are directly related to the bad defense, but still, the tiebreaker has to go to the team who have steamrolled the competition.
There is another quarterback in this game who no one should sleep on, though. Jake Fromm is one of the best pro-style quarterbacks in the nation. While Tua and Murray like to dance around, Fromm prefers to sit in the pocket and locate his targets, like Matthew Stafford and Aaron Murray who came before him at Georgia.
He’s put up impressive numbers that have been overshadowed by Tagovailoa in the SEC. Fromm has passed for 24 touchdowns and 5 interceptions to get the attention of NFL personnel. He threw for 24 touchdowns and 7 interceptions as a freshman, so he was already on the radar. Fromm is aided by a terrific defense, not having to do it all like Murray in Oklahoma. We’ll see if it’s enough in the SEC Championship. Head below for our free SEC Championship pick between Alabama and Georgia.
Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Georgia Bulldogs SEC Championship Betting Odds:
vs. Georgia +13(-102)
Betting odds provided by Sportsbetting.ag
Alabama vs. Georgia Pick:
Tua Tagovailoa has put up some juggernaut numbers on the board. And note that he has gotten benched multiple times because games are already out of hand going into the second-half. Hurts has gotten work as the backup simply because the starters have rested. Even with that, Tua has registered 36 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions. He also has 211 yards rushing and an additional 5 touchdowns on the ground.
Kyle Murray should be in consideration, but that’s as far as it would go for me. Up to this point, the best defense that Alabama have played is Mississippi State. The Bulldogs held them to just 24 points, the lowest point total for the Crimson Tide this season.
Tagovailoa looked ordinary with 164 yards and a touchdown and interception. He rushed for -24 yards, as the Mississippi State were able to frustrate their offensive line. Remember that tackles behind the line of scrimmage get chalked up as a rushing loss in college. Mississippi State are a ground team on offense, though, which ran right into Alabama’s strength.
Georgia has a capable defense as well. They are 12th in the nation with 304 yards allowed per game. They’ve also allowed just 17.2 points per game. LSU is the outlier in their only loss of the year. The Tigers rolled up Georgia for 36 points in a 36-16 game.
It’s going to take Fromm coming up big as well. I believe Fromm is going to be up for the challenge. He has thrown 11 touchdowns and only 1 interception in the last five games. This was against some good defenses as well, including Florida and Kentucky. The combination of him and D’Andre Smith have been a potent force. Smith is carrying the rock for 7 yards per carry a season after they had Nick Chubb and Sony Michel.
With all the attention on Tua Tagovailoa in the SEC Championship, expect Fromm to take some of the spotlight away. In a season that Alabama has bulldozed the competition, look for Georgia to play Alabama tight for the second time in just less than two years. They still have the National Championship loss fresh in their minds, and while it won’t be easy to win, the Bulldogs should keep it close with Fromm.