INDIANAPOLIS — No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Georgia have reached this point utilizing two different philosophies. Their ideologies are not new or necessarily unique, but in a sport that is defined by its competitive disparity, they respectively do them the best.
Consider that Georgia is largely what Alabama used to be: a team that wins by focusing on the run with (more or less) a game manager at quarterback, plays top-tier defense and puts great importance on the field position battle. That’s a description of Alabama from about 2009-13. Remember the likes of Mark Ingram, Greg McElroy and A.J. McCarron?
In 2014, Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban decided to switch to the spread. He hired Lane Kiffin to coordinate his offense and installed former running back Blake Sims at quarterback. Off went the Tide. The approach has been perfected to the point that Bama now regularly competes for the best quarterbacks and pass catchers each recruiting cycle.
Plus the best players overall, just like Georgia.
“[It’s] how he’s adapted over the years,” Alabama’s Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Bryce Young said of his coach. “The game has changed since he’s been coaching. The players, the landscape of college football, college football in general has changed. And for him to be able to adapt multiple times throughout his career, that’s not easy for guys who have been doing it so long.”
Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart has shaped a complementary offense around one of the most dominant defenses of the last 20 years. Hyperbole usually rules in these sorts of situations, but there’s speculation that up to 10 players from Georgia’s defense could make it in the NFL.
It’s getting to the point that these two programs are measuring themselves against one another — and…