Alabama opens as 4-point favorite over Georgia in title game
Fresh off its dominant win over Clemson in the Sugar Bowl, Alabama has been installed as a four-point favorite over Georgia in the national championship game by Jeff Sherman of the Westgate Superbook. It marks the third straight season that the Crimson Tide have appeared in the championship contest, with Alabama favored in the previous two as well. Clemson was the opponent in each of the previous two contests with both teams splitting one win apiece. The matchup with Georgia means Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban will face his longtime assistant, Kirby Smart.
ATLANTA — Alabama coach Nick Saban passed along some timely advice when Kirby Smart took the Georgia job after a national championship run in 2015. " I told
Georgia ' s Kirby Smart took one big lesson from Nick Saban : Don ' t be Alabama , be better .
ATLANTA — Alabama coach Nick Saban passed along some timely advice when Kirby Smart took the Georgia job after a national championship run in 2015.
"I told Kirby this when he left," Saban said before a pause during Sunday's joint press conference at the Atlanta Sheraton Hotel. "Be your own man, be yourself. Do it the way you think it ought to be done. Don't try to be somebody else."
This Alabama team — not vintage, void of superstars — truly shows Saban's Process at work
If Nick Saban can win a championship with this team, what more evidence would we need that The Process has been perfected? “It’s a team for a reason," Alabama strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran said. "It’s a team sport. You have the superstar guys, and I feel like all of them could be that. Any game, a different guy could be that guy."Obviously there’s still one more chapter to go for Alabama, and it might be the toughest one.
Alabama coach Nick Saban passed along some timely advice when Kirby Smart took the Georgia job It' s a lot more difficult to beat Alabama , and that' s best illustrated by Saban ' s 11-0 record What was the biggest lesson he learned under Saban ? "Probably the single greatest thing is the level of
Nick Saban on Georgia : "They are one of the four best teams in the country. I don ' t want to play them again. That is the ultimate compliment I can give them." That’ s irrelevant on at least one level — the Tide don ’ t pick the other three Playoff teams — and could be irrelevant on another: Georgia might
Maybe it's time everybody else does, too. It's easy to pass off Georgia as the next-gen Alabama heading into Monday night's College Football Playoff championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. It's easy to compare this all-SEC matchup to the Galactic Empire playing the First Order. It's easy to play off the teacher-student relationship between Saban and Smart, an Alabama assistant for nine years during four of those national championship runs.
It's a lot more difficult to beat Alabama, and that's best illustrated by Saban's 11-0 record against former assistants. That's the trend Smart will try to break on Monday. Smart can build like Alabama. He can recruit like Alabama —.
To get a feel for what Smart is building, however, listen closely to one of his star players. Butkus Award winner Roquan Smith was asked about being billed as the next Alabama at Media Day on Saturday.
Can Kirby Smart break the Nick Saban assistant curse?
As far as curses go in sports, being an assistant to Nick Saban may not be the most famed, but none will be more relevant this week when Saban's Alabama Crimson Tide meets the Kirby Smart led-Georgia Bulldogs in Monday's CFP National Championship.It's no surprise a number of assistants have emerged from Saban's staff to carve out roles for themselves as head coaches, but the peculiar thing is, not a single pupil has managed to beat the master. In eleven meetings with their former boss, Saban's assistants have swung and missed each and every time.
Georgia is taking a page out of Alabama ' s playbook to build an SEC powerhouse. Don ' t bet against the Bulldogs, either. In Kirby Smart , they have the coach And, no, it wasn't Alabama ' s Nick Saban , who once complained about how winning a national championship took time away from his team' s
So Georgia hired an alumnus whose recent work experience gave him insight into how to cross that divide. Kirby Smart didn’ t get the job because he once wore silver britches; he got it because he once wore silver britches and understood how Nick Saban built Alabama into a juggernaut that has
"We don't think about (it) like that," Smith said. "We're Georgia. We're not caught up in this or that. We are who we are, so we're not worried about anything else."
Smart, however, still had to answer that question one more time. What was the biggest lesson he learned under Saban?
"Probably the single greatest thing is the level of commitment to the organization and holding it to that standard," Smart said. "That's a lost art in some organizations. You see successful business organizations run that way, but you don't always see athletic programs run that way."
College football hasn't seen anything quite like the Alabama dynasty, which can add a fifth national championship in nine years with a victory against the Bulldogs. Smart, meanwhile, inherited a Georgia program starved for its first national championship since 1980.
The First All-SEC National Title Game Was Bad, but the Second Doesn't Have to Be
When the College Football Playoff Selection Committee gave the fourth and final playoff spot to Alabama instead of Ohio State, it set the stage for what many fan bases thought of as a doomsday scenario: two SEC teams playing for the national championship. Both teams’ semifinal wins were impressive for different reasons. Georgia beat the Big 12 champs at their own game—a defense-optional shootout, the type of contest SEC teams want to avoid, as the conventional wisdom goes—while Alabama at times made Clemson look like the junior varsity a week after the Tigers won the ACC title game by 35.
Alabama is healthy, motivated and playing at its peak level, and Georgia ' s personnel hasn' t quite caught up to what Saban has developed. Smart is polishing off a recruiting class that includes six 5-star recruits—a number only Alabama pulled off in the previous five seasons (doing it four times)
With Selection Sunday looming, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart was asked to make a case for his Saban vouched for Georgia ' s inclusion, echoing Smart 's sentiment. "They are one of the four best Last season, Georgia and Alabama were the last two teams standing before clashing in the College
A group of senior players led by Smith, Nick Chubb and Sony Michel returned, and Smart has parlayed that into the nation's top recruiting class. That's the biggest indicator that we'll see this matchup in Atlanta a few more times in the SEC championship. Depending on how long Saban stays at Alabama, this could turn into a teacher-student rivalry in the mold of Woody Hayes-Bo Schembechler.
Those two icons engaged in the "Ten-Year War," but they never faced each other in a national championship game. For that kind of thing to take off between Saban and Smart, Georgia must win — much like Michigan did with the legendary 24-12 upset in 1969. That set the tone for a chapter in that rivalry that still resonates today. This doesn't feel like that, at least not yet.
Saban spoke about his wife, Terry, being at the hospital when Smart's children were born. Saban even pulled out a loose reference from "The Godfather."
"It isn't personal when we compete against each other," Saban said. "I'm sure he wants to win for his players, and we certainly want to win for our players, and it's not a personal thing.
The Latest: Water dripping from stadium roof near sideline
The Latest on the College Football Playoff national football championship game on Monday night (all times local): 7:45 p.m. Mercedes-Benz Stadium7:45 p.m.
Kirby Smart was at Nick Saban ' s coaching side for more than a decade.David Goldman/Associated Press. Anyone who wants to understand Saban ’ s attention to detail only needs to go back and watch the final couple of minutes of the 2011 title game against LSU, when Alabama was ahead 21-0 and
ATLANTA — Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban ’ s enduring paradox is that for all his historic accomplishments — six national championships (as many as Bear Bryant), a record five in the past nine seasons — he is undeniably a masochist. Saban should not be a sympathetic figure.
"I hate to lose, and I've been around Kirby long enough and he's been on my basketball team long enough that I know he hates to lose, too. I think that has something to do with it."
At that point, Smart laughed.
Then Saban and Smart talked about their pregame rituals (both teams will see a movie Sunday night) and the usual talking football points (running the football, stopping the run, turnover-free football and special teams). That's how both Alabama and Georgia got here, and in that respect, the Bulldogs have followed the model.
Alabama remains the standard. Saban still answers questions in these press conference settings last, especially against former assistants. He's the tone-setter. That's the trend Smart will try to break. To do that, Smart can't be Saban, and Georgia can't be Alabama.
The Bulldogs have to be better. If you listen closely to Smart, then you can understand why he's on the right track.
"If there's anything I took, it's being in that seat and having to be in command," Smart said. "Make decisions, and make sure that everybody understands the message that comes from the top and the standard you want people to work to."
Related slideshow: Alabama vs. Georgia: The names to know (Provided by Yardbarker)
Report: Hugh Freeze visits Alabama football program .
Nick Saban may lose his top assistants every season, but he goes right back to restocking with some of the best available coaches. And this year may not be an exception. According to The Tuscaloosa News, former Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze was in Alabama on Monday and was in the Crimson Tide’s football building. The nature of his visit is unclear, but some think it could be in connection to the Tide's offensive coordinator vacancy.In addition to losing defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt to Tennessee, Alabama just lost offensive coordinator Brian Daboll to the Buffalo Bills.