Alabama head coach Nick Saban tested positive for COVID-19 this week. As of publication, this has not affected the start of the game. For more information about the outbreak of the virus amongst the SEC, click here. It was expected that Saban would not be on the sidelines to coach this game. It should be noted though that he has tested negative in the day leading up to the game. It is still unknown whether Saban will be on the sidelines for this game which is arguably the biggest of the season so far. We may have to wait until kickoff to see if Saban will be at the game coaching. We will preview this game as if the circumstances were normal.
Saban isn't used to give up 48 points to any opponent. Let alone Ole Miss who has a new head coach. That new head coach though happens to be Saban's old offensive coordinator, Lane Kiffin. The defensive minded Saban couldn't possibly fathom letting up that many points legitimately, so he accused Kiffin of stealing Alabama's signs. Kiffin said he didn't even know Alabama's defensive signs when he was offensive coordinator in Tuscaloosa. The more logical explanation is that the up-tempo offense caught Alabama off guard.
Either way, it didn't really matter because Alabama scored 63 against Ole Miss. If anyone is going to know what defensive schemes to expect against Alabama is Georgia's head coach Kirby Smart. He was Saban's defensive coordinator from 2008-15. The moral of the Alabama coordinator story is if you coached with Nick Saban you'll eventually get to coach your own SEC team. Sans stealing signs though, the Bulldogs are going to need all the help they can get to slow down this electric Alabama offense.
What TV Channel is Georgia-Alabama on?
Georgia-Alabama will be shown on CBS at 8:00 p.m. ET. You can live stream NCAA Football Games on fuboTV.
How to Watch Georgia-Alabama
When: Saturday, October 17
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium - Tuscaloosa, AL
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
Live Stream: fuboTV (watch College Football free with fuboTV)
This is the only game between ranked teams this week and it might be the best game on paper of the season. Sure Alabama is probably better and has a very good shot of winning this game. But that shot is by no means guranteed. Georgia is dominating their opponents winning by an average of 24 points. They're not playing slouches either. They played #7 Auburn and #14 Tennessee. They showed resilience against the Volunteers in a game they were losing 21-17 at half. In the second half they went on to score 27 unanswered points and more importantly shutout the Vols the rest of the way.
At first blush, Georgia's defense seems like a better unit especially Alabama's dismal performance against Ole Miss. But it's the emergence of their walk-on QB that may just push them over the edge this year. This game looks to be a preview of the SEC championship with LSU and Florida both losing last week. That QB is Stetson Bennett and he was the fourth option at the position entering the season. With transfer Jamie Newman opting out because of the virus, transfer JT Daniels is out while still recovering from a knee injury, to finally Bennett becoming the main option after season starter D'wan Mathis struggled against Arkansas.
His 5'11" frame isn't holding him back and he's proving everyone wrong with his feet and his ability to command a game. He has five touchdowns compared to no interceptions and his total QBR of 93.1 ranks third in the FBS only behind Matt Corral of Ole Miss and Mac Jones of Alabama.
That's just the thing about Alabama. They lost one of the best quarterbacks that program has ever seen when Tua Tagovailoa left for the NFL. Jones has seemingly slid in seamlessly to take Alabama to the promised land once again. But if we are to focus on one player this week, it should be Alabama running back Najee Harris. If quarterbacks weren't so predetermined to winning the Heisman, you should already just give Harris the trophy. He has 10 touchdowns, five of which he scored against Ole Miss last week. While he may have started off tepidly in the yards department, he went for more than 200 last week as well. If Georgia can stop Harris, they might just have a chance at winning. Key word being might.
Georgia-Alabama Betting Odds
Georgia Odds: +6
Alabama Odds: -6
Money Line: Georgia +190 - Alabama - 230