ATLANTA — It has been factual from the time Nick Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa a decade and a half within the past, and remains so even with regarded as one of the most extra unsuitable groups he has coached in that time: By no diagram depend Alabama out.

With its Faculty Football Playoff hopes on the road against a No. 1-ranked Georgia workforce that had carried an air of mystery of dominance spherical the Southeastern Conference for the last three months, Alabama delivered one extra jolt to a season of chaos with a 41-24 decide at Mercedes-Benz Stadium that would possibly maybe level-headed cement the Crimson Tide because the No. 1 seed heading into Sunday’s playoff picks.

Yes, No. 1 seed and SEC champion Alabama. The same workforce that wished a halt to-miracle real a week within the past to advance back from within the back of against 6-6 Auburn. The same workforce that regarded inclined against the likes of Arkansas and LSU and took a loss to Texas A&M. The same workforce whose offensive line regarded adore a nightmare waiting to happen against a Georgia protection that had given up a meager 230 yards per game this season.

None of it mattered Saturday as Alabama chanced on a option to assault Georgia’s secondary and protect quarterback Bryce Younger real neatly ample for him to narrate a doable Heisman Trophy-successful performance.

Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young (9) celebrates his rushing touchdown with tight end Jahleel Billingsley during the second quarter against the Bulldogs in the SEC championship game.

Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Younger (9) celebrates his rushing landing with tight conclude Jahleel Billingsley within the course of the 2nd quarter against the Bulldogs within the SEC championship game.

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Younger, the sophomore who has carried Alabama’s offense all season, chanced on tender spots within the Georgia protection that had no longer been there for any assorted opponent this season, throwing for 421 yards and three touchdowns on 26-of-44 completions. For some context, the excellent workforce that had thrown for 300-plus yards on Georgia this season used to be Tennessee in a 41-17 loss. Alabama’s 41 aspects were greater than the Bulldogs had allowed within the overall months of September, October or November. Its 537 yards were greater than twice what Georgia gave up to seven opponents this season.

And the magnitude of that performance completely raises some contemporary questions about Georgia, a workforce that did no longer face the toughest of SEC schedules this season and whose simplest wins came against No. 20 Clemson, No. 22 Arkansas and No. 23 Kentucky.

Light, it will maybe maybe maybe be laborious to assume the playoff selection committee punishing Georgia ample to descend the Bulldogs out of the last four completely, in particular with none assorted glaring alternate solutions. Even supposing Notre Dame went 11-1, its résumé lacks a high-25 decide. The sole assorted option would possibly be Colossal 12 champion Baylor (11-2), whose 30-28 loss to a 5-7 TCU workforce will potentially conclude up being the sport that retains the Bears out of the playoff.

Assuming Georgia is level-headed in, it items up a topic the place these two groups would possibly maybe maybe meet any other time for the national title, real as they did in 2017. Georgia coach Kirby Spruce is now 0-4 in his occupation against Saban, who employed him as an assistant at Alabama from 2007-15.

Despite its playoff hopes being on the ropes several instances this 365 days, Alabama can also be rounding into set up real in time. Even supposing it looked for the first quarter adore Georgia used to be playing the sport it wished to play — the Dawgs led 10-0 on the first snap of the 2nd quarter — Alabama stabilized straight away when receiver Jameson Williams bought broad open over the center and raced away to a 67-yard landing.

From there, the Crimson Tide left Georgia choking on use. By halftime, Younger had situation an SEC championship game document with 286 passing yards as Alabama took a 24-17 lead. Alabama’s momentum persisted within the 2nd half, taking it 75 yards on five plays to open the third quarter and forcing Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett IV into two interceptions, alongside with a 42-yard landing return by safety Jordan Fight to set up it 38-17.

Follow USA TODAY Sports activities columnist Dan Wolken on Twitter @DanWolken

This text before all the things looked on USA TODAY: Faculty football: Alabama hands Georgia first loss, earns playoff slot

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