ATHENS — It’s unlikely Georgia and Alabama will meet on the football field this season, but there have been plenty of comparisons of the two programs in the past 24 hours.
The Bulldogs came out ahead of the Crimson Tide in the second set of College Football Playoff Rankings released on Tuesday night, leading many to compare the programs’ resumes.
Rob Mullens, the CFP Chairman, said Georgia got the nod at No. 4 — with Alabama at No. 5 — because of the Bulldogs’ wins over Top 20 teams Florida and Notre Dame.
The Tide has yet to beat any Top 25 teams this season.
Georgia plays at Auburn at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday in a game the Bulldogs likely must win to keep playoff hopes alive.
South Carolina coach Will Muschamp and Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt have both already seen Alabama and Georgia up close.
Neither went so far as to say one was better than the other, but both shared their opinions when asked by DawgNation on the Wednesday teleconference.
Muschamp broke down the teams’ personalities, while Pruitt was more philosophical.
South Carolina beat Georgia in Athens 20-17 in overtime on Oct. 12 and lost to Alabama 47-23 on Sept. 14 in Columbia.
“You take Alabama, Tua (Tagovailoa) is an outstanding player, and the speed that they have at wideout, they’ve got four guys that can run and create space plays and they create huge issues for you, and that to me is obviously something that jumps out,” Muschamp said.
“Defensively up front (Raekwon) Davis and (Terrell) Lewis are both guys you’ve got to deal with, and Anfernee Jennings is a guy, a 3 or 4 year starter, that brings a presence on the edge, and they cover extremely well on the back end, and they’re going to mix things up on you.”
Muschamp, who played at Georgia and has coached with both Nick Saban and Kirby Smart, provided some insight into the Bulldogs, too.
“Georgia, I just think their offensive line is very difficult to match up with, they are massive up front, (but) I think Alabama does have the size to match up with them,” Muschamp said. “The backs are outstanding. (D’Andre) Swift, the entire corps of running backs are really good players.
“(Jake) Fromm is an outstanding player, it’s really, what’s hurt them in the throwing game is just the lack of experience at receiver,” Muschamp said. “I think they are very talented at receiver, (George) Pickens is a guy that’s going to be great player for them, but when you’re dealing with young players, you’re going to deal with some inconsistencies.
“When they got (Lawrence) Cager, who is a grad-transfer, obviously he played extremely well down in Jacksonville for them. I think that’s the stabilizing factor in the throwing game. They are going to continue to improve because of the youth they have, they have a lot of talent on the edges.”
Muschamp sees improvement ahead for the Georgia defense, too.
“Defensively they are really deep in the front seven, Kirby is playing a lot of guys up front and it’s motivating those guys, they are playing very hard, and they’ve got some really talented guys, so they are hard to run the ball against, they create a lot of negative plays,” Muschamp said. “They’ve got a good combination of guys they are playing with up front, but they are both really talented teams.”
Pruitt’s Tennessee team lost at home to the Bulldogs by a 43-14 count on Oct. 5, and then it lost on the road to the Crimson Tide 35-13 on Oct. 19.
“I think they are both very well-coached teams, they are both very talented, (and) neither one of them have a whole lot of weaknesses,” Pruitt said. “Both of them play some really good opponents down the stretch that will settle it on the field.”
“I think that’s the beauty of college football is it does get settled most of the time on the field and definitely in the SEC.”
Georgia and Alabama have games remaining against Auburn, and the Bulldogs play host to a Texas A&M team on Nov. 23 that the Tide beat 47-28 in College Station on Oct. 12.
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