The college football world – including Alabama coach Nick Saban – will be watching when No. 3 Georgia travels to Tuscaloosa to face No. 2 Alabama on Saturday, Oct. 17. The game will be live streamed on CBS All Access.
The mid-week news that Saban tested positive for COVID-19 added a challenging backdrop for the season’s first top-5 matchup. Saban figures to be communicating his marching orders and input from home while offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian likely serves in his stead on the sidelines.
The Crimson Tide sends quarterback Mac Jones and the nation’s top scoring offense against linebacker Monty Rice and the No. 2 scoring defense.
Georgia coach Kirby Smart attempts to become the first ex-Saban assistant to beat their old boss.
Alabama running back Najee Harris has run for 10 touchdowns in three games while the Bulldogs haven’t allowed a TD on the ground. Alabama receivers like Jaylen Waddle, John Metchie III and DeVonta Smith face their biggest test by far.
The game kicks off at 7 p.m. (8 p.m. ET) and will be live streamed on CBS All Access, which offers a 7-day free trial. CBS will televise the game.
WHAT’S AT STAKE: From a national standpoint, this is undoubtedly the biggest SEC game of the year and it garners even more attention because college football’s most famous coach has COVID-19. Alabama coach Nick Saban tested positive on Wednesday, leaving the Crimson Tide with another challenge and potential distraction. It’s the season’s first Top-5 matchup. Just three weeks in, Georgia and Alabama are the league’s only remaining unbeaten teams. The loser could easily come back and win their division, setting up an SEC championship game rematch. The winner could at least pull closer to No. 1 Clemson.
KEY MATCHUP: The SEC’s best offense against the top defense. Alabama quarterback Mac Jones and an array of playmakers led by tailback Najee Harris and wide receiver Jaylen Waddle face their biggest challenge yet. So does a Georgia defense that is among the nation’s best and is led by safety Richard LeCounte and linebackers Monty Rice and Azeez Ojulari, who has three sacks and six tackles for loss.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Georgia: LeCounte leads a secondary that must contend with a prolific Tide passing attack that includes playmaking receivers in Waddle, John Metchie III and DeVonta Smith. All three have taken their star turns with big games. LeCounte has seven career interceptions.
Alabama: Waddle is a huge threat not only on offense, but as a return man. He is averaging 21.2 yards on 13 catches with three touchdowns. He has also been one of the nation’s top punt returners the past two seasons, but has only gotten one chance this season with teams mostly punting away from him. This seems like the kind of game that could turn on a big special teams play one way or the other.
FACTS & FIGURES: Alabama has won the last five meetings, including two SEC championship game victories and one in the