Bock’s Score: Familiar Foes Vie for a Championship


No introductions will be necessary when Georgia and Alabama meet in college football’s national championship game on Jan. 10 in Indianapolis, COVID-19 permitting. These two programs know each other very well.

They both live in the powerhouse Southeast Conference, which sometimes seems like the only place meaningful college football resides these days. It is ironic that two SEC schools should be facing off for the sport’s top prize in the heart of Big Ten country. But it is not unusual for the SEC to show up in the national championship game. This is the seventh straight year that has happened.

Just a few weeks ago these two met for the SEC title in a dream matchup of Georgia’s defense, ranked best in the nation with only 250 yards or so allowed per game, and Alabama’s always potent offense.

It turned out to be no contest.

Alabama ran up over 500 yards of offense in a 41- 24 thrashing of previously undefeated Georgia, which had given up more than 13 points in a game only once before this season.

That left Georgia and Alabama each with one loss heading into the championship clash at Lucas Oil Stadium with both schools delivering decisive victories in the semifinals. Georgia showed no scars in whipping Michigan 34-11 in the Orange Bowl and Alabama dispatched upstart Cincinnati 27-6 in the Cotton Bowl.

Excuse Alabama if it struts into this game. The Crimson Tide has won six national championships since Nick Saban took over the program in 2007. Georgia, on the other hand, has not won a national title since 1980, a long dry spell for a program that is always in the hunt.

Because they both live in the same conference, Georgia and Alabama are familiar foes. The championship game will be the 72nd meeting between the two teams and Alabama has won the last seven including the 2018 national championship game which spilled into overtime.

The Crimson Tide are post season perennials, admirable consistency considering the turnover in the game with the COVID virus and transfer portals now raiding rosters, causing alarming exits, sometimes even in the middle of the season.

For Georgia coach Kirby Smart, the title game is another opportunity to end an annoying losing streak. Smart, once an assistant on Saban’s Alabama staff has faced his old boss four times and has not beaten him yet.

Not many others have managed that trick, either.







About the Author

Hal Bock

Hal Bock is a contributor with NY Sports Day. He has covered sports for 40 years at The Associated Press including 30 World Series, 30 Super Bowls and 11 Olympics. He is the author of 14 books including most recently The Last Chicago Cubs Dynasty and Banned Baseball's Blacklist of All-Stars and Also-Rans. He has written scores of magazine articles and served as Journalist In Residence at Long Island University's Brooklyn campus where he also served on the selection committee for the George Polk Awards.

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