The highly anticipated matchup between Georgia football and Alabama is getting closer and closer.
Though it wasn’t guaranteed at the start of the year, fans and some analysts confidently predicted that this would be the matchup we’d see in Atlanta for the SEC Championship.
Georgia is looking to complete its first-ever 13-0 season and lock up the No. 1 seed in the College Football Playoff, while the Crimson Tide are fighting for a chance to even be in the playoff.
These two teams have created iconic moments over the last few years, with many coming from unlikely heroes.
Alabama and Georgia football are both loaded with depth at every position, but the Dawgs have the edge when it comes to quarterbacks.
The last two high-profile UGA-Bama contests in the ATL involved heroic play from backup quarterbacks. Tua Tagovailoa came in during the second half of the 2018 CFP National Championship game and led Alabama to a come-from-behind victory.
In December of that year, Jalen Hurts played the role of Tagovailoa by leading the Tide to yet another comeback win over the Dawgs in the SEC title game.
The moral of the story — backup quarterbacks, are x-factors when these two teams go at it, and Georgia has the advantage this time.
The Bulldogs’ backup is the former starter, JT Daniels. The USC transfer started three games this year, but early injuries opened the door for Stetson Bennett, who has played well for Georgia this season.
On the year, Daniels is 68-of-94 with 722 yards and seven touchdown passes. He is a very talented quarterback with an NFL arm. He could help the Dawgs attack the Bama secondary if they find themselves trailing at some point during the game, especially now that wide receiver George Pickens is back in the lineup.
These two developed great chemistry once Daniels was cleared to play last year, and they put on a show in the Peach Bowl against Cincinnati.
Alabama’s backup, on the other hand, does not have the experience like Daniels does. Their backup is Paul Tyson, a 6-5 228-pound redshirt sophomore from Trussville, AL. This season, Freshman Jalen Milroe has also seen action, but Tyson has been the primary backup all year.
Tyson was a four-star recruit coming out of high school, and he chose Bama over schools like Arkansas, LSU, and Tennessee. He is also Alabama royalty, as his great-grandfather was legendary Crimson Tide coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. However, his connection to the Bear was not the only reason Alabama offered him a scholarship.
Tyson completed 68.2% of his passes in high school, the second-highest percentage in Alabama 7A football history. So far at Alabama, Tyson is 10-for-16 with 150 yards and zero touchdowns.
Tyson might wind up as a talented quarterback for Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide. Still, it’s hard to imagine him leading a comeback against this Georgia defense, who is playing at a historically significant level. Unlike Tua and Hurts in years past, he simply does not have enough in-game experience in his collegiate career so far.
Will we see if either of these two quarterbacks in action on Saturday? Who knows, but in the meantime, the college football world will be able to sit back and enjoy the SEC’s two best teams clash for an SEC title and a spot in the College Football Playoff.