Georgia football: The Vols cleared the way for the playoffs

ATHENS, GA - OCTOBER 15: Stetson Bennett #13 of the Georgia Bulldogs points after the game against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Sanford Stadium on October 15, 2022 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Adam Hagy/Getty Images)
ATHENS, GA - OCTOBER 15: Stetson Bennett #13 of the Georgia Bulldogs points after the game against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Sanford Stadium on October 15, 2022 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Adam Hagy/Getty Images) /

Georgia football demoralized Vanderbilt on Saturday, and during the Dawgs’ game, Tennessee ended a 15-year drought to beat Alabama. While that victory is the biggest win for the Vols since they beat Georgia in 2016, that win benefits Georgia more than them.

Alabama could lose another game before the SEC Championship Game, so Georgia may not even face them in Atlanta. However, the Dawgs will have to beat the Vols to make it back to Atlanta, and after watching that game, Georgia can do it. Alabama showed Georgia how to beat Tennessee — even if the Tide lost.

I’m not discrediting what Tennessee did to Alabama because it was lovely to watch, but that doesn’t mean the Vols are invincible, either. There are some weaknesses that Alabama has that Georgia doesn’t. The Dawgs match up better with the Vols personnel-wise than the Tide did.

Alabama hasn’t been the same all season, and the Tide just had to meet the right team, and Tennessee was it this year. This game may not be the only one Alabama drops this season, which is why this first one paves the way for Georgia. Tennessee did the Dawgs a favor, and we appreciate it now, but it’s blood on Nov. 5.

Georgia football benefits the most from Tennessee beating Alabama.

The Dawgs have a better secondary than the Tide and the Vols. Georgia ranks No.1 in the SEC in passing defense, while Alabama is No.8, and the Vols are No. 13.

Georgia leads the entire conference in all main defensive categories. While Tennessee’s biggest weakness is their passing defense, the Dawgs still statistically have a better unit.

Alabama’s secondary is not the usual one that college football fans have grown to know. This group is younger, and against Tennessee, they got beat a few times — okay, more than a few times. Granted, give Tennessee’s receivers and starting quarterback Hendon Hooker some credit because they balled out against Alabama. They did what they were supposed to do and beat the Tide for the first time in 15 years — it deserves praise.

Georgia will have to make sure its corners are on top of things because there have been a couple of times we saw them get burnt too. However, those things happen sometimes, it’s how you eliminate them from occurring a lot, and Alabama didn’t do that.

While Alabama’s secondary wasn’t like it typically is, neither were its receivers. The Tide doesn’t have their dynamic go-to guys as they have had in the past. These players are talented, but not like those drafted into the NFL. Tennessee’s secondary is the second-worst in the SEC and was still able to make plays, so that should tell you everything.

If Georgia can get back AD Mitchell and Arian Smith in its receiving lineup, the Dawgs have just as many, if not more, playmakers. Not to mention, I don’t see Tennessee’s defensive backs covering Brock Bowers or Darnell Washington successfully.

Not to mention, Georgia’s defense is full of playmakers like Nolan Smith, Jamon Dumas-Johnson, Kelee Ringo, Malaki Starks, Smael Mondon and Jalen Carter. Those two cause havoc, and the rest of this unit gets better by the week. If the Dawgs can get Carter healthy for Tennessee along with Mondon, Tennessee will have to be on their toes.

A final thing is Georgia is the least penalized team in the SEC and won’t have those stupid mistakes that Alabama did in Knoxville. The Dawgs’ secondary coaches have taught them how to defend receivers, and while Georgia has seen some of its guys get defensive pass interference, it’ll be much less blatant than what Alabama did. Georgia stays focused and makes very few mistakes, which is another thing to keep in mind.

While the refs are not why Alabama fell to the Vols — 17 penalties don’t help at all, especially four defensive pass interferences, including two in the most crucial drive of the game. Discipline isn’t one of Alabama’s core values this year but one of Georgia’s.

Tennessee is a good program, but looking at how they stack up to Georgia, it’s far better than what they did with Alabama. The Dawgs have to play their game, use the home field advantage and knock the Vols down a few notches.

light. Must Read. Georgia football: 7 takeaways from the ruthless Week 7 win

The Vols opened it up for the Dawgs because Alabama has one loss now and has to win out the rest of the way. This year’s playoffs will likely not feature two SEC teams, and right now, the Dawgs sit in a far better spot than the Tide. Thanks, Tennessee, for taking down the beast — now get ready for an all-out war on Nov. 5 between the hedges as the Dawgs are hungrier than ever.