There are so many important keys to games like these. You have two evenly matched teams that are very similar in mindset and what they want to do to win the game. You have coaches that are very familiar with each other's programs. A lot of elite talent on both sides of the ball.
And of course much has been made about the psyche of each team - Bama with their backs to the wall, and Georgia out to prove this is a new era and upswing.
But...in the end, with the game on the line, it still comes down to those big bodies in the trenches. So...
- Who wins the battles at the line of scrimmage? If Georgia is to exert their will running the football, the offensive line must be up to their greatest challenge yet. And Pruitt's front seven have to pin their ears back and cause chaos in Bama's running game to force Coker into attempting to win this game.
- Protect the football. It's gonna be a slopknocker of a game. Messy? Woo, Lords yes. The pigskin will be at a premium and the team that shows the greatest aptitude for holding onto the football will have a decided advantage. Everything from not having balls slip through receivers' hands, fielding punts cleanly, good exchanges in the backfield...(realizes he's preaching to the choir, takes a deep breath...)
To be perfectly clear, both Alabama and Georgia will need to bring their A game. But I think we'll see the Dawgs come out looser in their stance and more ready to "get a little action in" than their adversaries tomorrow afternoon. So the first five minutes of the game could be nearly as critical (maybe even more so...) as the last five.