If third-ranked Alabama reaches the College Football Playoff for the seventh time in eight seasons, they'll accomplish the feat as a consensus underdog, since top-ranked Georgia is favored to win the SEC title game on Saturday.
Although the underdog status means nothing to Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban, it's a new reality for the players. Barring some drastic change, Georgia will snap Alabama's 92-game streak as the betting favorite, which dates back to Oct. 2015. Of course, this doesn't mean that the title game can't be a true heavyweight clash. Alabama's well-versed in nail-biters.
"You can't let them hang around. And 10 points is Alabama hanging around," SEC on CBS sideline reporter Jamie Erdahl told The DA Show on Wednesday. "Alabama has been put in those adverse situations all season long -- against Texas A&M, against LSU, against Auburn. They're now equipped for every game scenario, and I find that to be a more dangerous tool in their toolbelt going up against Georgia this weekend.
"The bigger the favorite is for Alabama, the less Nick Saban cares about it... He has his eye on the longball, the long-game. He knows that if he were to ever even show a flicker of acknowledgement that, let's say his team is the favorite in a game, that's when disastrous things can happen for the psyche of a team. He wants to work toward a national championship, and no one else better than him knows how to mentally get a team there..."
Alabama struggled mightily to score against unranked rival Auburn last week. Although they managed to win a four-overtime thriller, 24-22, the offense was limited to a measly three points for 59 minutes. The Crimson Tide's hopes of a national title were saved with less than 30 seconds remaining, when Heisman candidate Bryce Young capped off a 12-play, 97-yard drive with a game-tying touchdown to receiver Ja'Corey Brooks.
Suffice to say, Alabama can ill-afford another offensive clunker. But generating points against Georgia's stout defense is a rather tall order. Through 12 games, the Bulldogs have allowed a staggering 6.9 points and 230 yards on average, marks that rank first in the nation. The SEC title game is scheduled to kickoff at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday in Atlanta. In the CFP era, no two-loss team has ever reached the Playoff.
The entire college football conversation between Erdahl and DA can be accessed in the audio player above.