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We have finally made it to the end of the season, with the National Championship Game coming up in a week. The final seconds ticked off the clock on Friday night, giving us the SEC Championship rematch between Alabama and Georgia, and the betting line has already given us something to talk about.
But, we’ve still got one other SEC team playing on Tuesday night that might’ve slipped under the radar for most fans.
Texas Bowl: LSU (+5.5) vs. Kansas State
First, we have to hit on the Texas Bowl, which will be played on Tuesday night in Houston. The LSU Tigers are looking to finish off a wild 2021 season in which Ed Orgeron was fired, and a new regime led by Brian Kelly has now taken over. Interim head coach Brad Davis is not giving us any clues about who he will start at quarterback for the Tigers against Kansas State, opting to keep it all close to the vest.
The Tigers have one scholarship quarterback on the roster at the moment, Garrett Nussmeier, but Nussmeier would have to burn his redshirt on Tuesday if he were to play. In an interesting move, the freshman quarterback did ask the NCAA for a waiver to play in the game and not lose a year, but LSU isn’t saying whether he has received it. LSU could play walk-on Tavion Faulk or Jontre Kirklin, who played QB in high school. Either way, this feels like the Duke’s Mayo Bowl, where South Carolina went the same route and played a wide receiver for a good chunk of the game.
This game is tricky. Good luck trying to decide whether the Tigers have enough to win, especially after this crazy season.
CFP National Championship: Alabama vs. Georgia (-3)
Whether folks like it or not, we’re getting a rematch of the SEC Championship, since both Alabama and Georgia took care of business in the semifinals.
Georgia looked like a completely different team against Michigan than they did against Alabama, especially Stetson Bennett, who tore apart the Wolverines secondary. Bennett finished the game 20-30 for 313 yards and three touchdowns, showing off his command of this offense in the process. We also witnessed running back James Cook take over the game, accounting for 144 yards of total offense and one touchdown.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a big lead, and the defense never let the Wolverines back in it. If Nakobe Dean and Nolan Smith can get the same type of pressure on Bryce Young, this game will look completely different than before. The one thing that was lacking from the Bulldogs in the first meeting was the pressure against Bryce Young. The Georgia defense must be better, obviously, and they were against the Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines. Now comes the big test — again.
It is interesting that the early money is coming in on the Bulldogs, even though Alabama looked impressive on Friday as well. Brian Robinson Jr. rushed for 204 yards for the Tide, making the Bearcat defenders look silly. Bryce Young also had another big game, throwing for three touchdowns, even though he had to pass the ball just 28 times. The Tide just wore the Bearcats down physically, never giving their offense an opportunity to breathe. It looked as though the Alabama defense was in the face of QB Desmond Ridder on just about every play, with LB Will Anderson coming off the edge.
Now, we find out whether Georgia learned anything from the first meeting only a month ago. It looks as though Vegas liked the way Georgia won its semifinal game because it made them a FG favorite. If we get the same Stetson Bennett that we saw in Miami, maybe this opening line makes sense in the end. But for now, it’s just fuel to the fire for this Alabama team.
Good luck with your betting, and make sure to check out FanDuel this week for all the latest movement.
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Follow along on Twitter: @TreyWallace_