Alabama’s win over Arkansas confirmed what seemed inevitable that they would represent the SEC West in the Championship Game versus Georgia. Alabama ripped through an all SEC Schedule in 2020 and won the College Football Playoff with an undefeated 15-0 season. Coming into the 2021 campaign, Alabama needed to replace 67% of its offense but returned 77% of it’s 2020 defensive production. The Crimson Tide and Bulldogs sit atop the SEC in Offensive Yards Per Play both passing the rotting corpse of Dan MuLLLLLLen’s 2021 Gators. Georgia, similarly to Alabama need to replace a significant portion of the offensive production, need to replaced 61% of the defensive production. Dan Lanning and Kirby Smart coached the unit to one of the best and most efficient the playoff era.
Alabama winds up as the 3rd best defense as measured by yards per play allowed over 1 ypp behind Georgia. Georgia and Alabama are #1 and #2 in SEC Net YPP and #1 and #4 in Power 5+ (including American Athletic). They are two of the 4 teams above 2.0 Net YPP with Buckeyes and Cincinnati.
Here is how the SEC Division champions have tracked in these key metrics throughout the season with one more regular game to go. Georgia was one of the most explosive teams in the country last season, but that was at somewhat at expense of an average success rate. This year, Monken and the offense have a 49.3% success rate, improved almost 5% points from last. On average, Georgia is producing 31.6 successful plays on offense and a 1.26 points per successful play. Alabama has that same 1.26 points per successful plays but is getting 35.6 successful play per game. This is not EPA based, but actual points. This ‘explosiveness’ is about the only are which Alabama tracks better than Georgia. On the flip side, Georgia is only allowing .33 points per successful play allowed to Bama’s .80. In addition, The Bulldog defense is allowing 5 less successful plays than Alabama’s 25 per game. Breaking, the defense is special. Less successful plays allowed, and those plays produce fewer points.
Georgia will be the favorite on December 4th. Prepare for the “last time Alabama was underdog” narratives. As Graham and Sarah have written on this site, this team is special and it’s ok to believe.