Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:30 AM EST.
Bryant–Denny Stadium - Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Streaming: On several CBS stations in the Local Channels Group
Georgia +5 -105 over ALABAMA
8:00 PM EST. Kirby Smart was born in Montgomery, Alabama, and grew up in Bainbridge, Georgia. Smart followed Nick Saban to the University of Alabama in 2007. He was hired by Saban as an assistant coach and in 2008 he was promoted to defensive coordinator. On December 8, 2009, Smart was awarded the Broyles Award as the nation's best assistant coach. He was the first Alabama assistant coach to win the award. Alabama would go on to win the BCS National Championship. Smart considered a lucrative contract to be the defensive coordinator at his alma mater, the University of Georgia, but chose to stay with the Crimson Tide in early January 2010. In 2011, Smart's defense helped Alabama win another championship, beating LSU in the 2012 BCS National Championship Game. On March 27, 2012, the University of Alabama System's Board Of Trustees voted to increase Smart's salary and extend his contract. On November 20, 2012, Smart was recognized as the 2012 AFCA FBS Assistant Coach of the Year. Alabama would win another national championship, beating Notre Dame with a bruising defense. On April 16, 2013, Smart was granted a $200,000 salary increase to make him the highest-paid defensive coordinator in college football. On December 6, 2015, Smart was announced as the 26th head football coach at the University of Georgia.
After Smart was hired, his Bulldogs would not face Saban’s Crimson Tide until 2018. Alabama won that game in OT. The next game was In 2018 in which the Dawgs had the Tide by the throat but lost by seven after being outscored in the 4th quarter, 14-0. This is Smart’s third crack at Saban and the Tide and he’s ready. Adaptability is a trait of all coaches with longevity, and during the past few years, Kirby Smart has proved he's still willing to search for new answers. Some of Smart's searching the past few years has led him in an Alabama-flavored direction. Defensive coordinator Dan Lanning served as a graduate assistant in 2015 on an Alabama coaching staff that featured Smart as the defensive coordinator and Tucker as the secondary coach. Inside linebackers coach Glenn Schumann was part of the Tide program in 2015, too, working as the director of player development & associate director of player personnel.
Alabama may still carry the league's standard and represent the "hump" to be cleared for programs hoping to earn SEC titles and such, but the 2020 edition is ripe for the picking. ‘Bama has no SEC-caliber answer on defense and there is no chance that Alabama is going to rack up video game numbers on Kirby Smart’s defense. This isn’t A&M, Ole Miss or Mizzou, the three teams that the Tide torched this year, as all three can’t stop the marching band.
The stakes are much higher for Georgia than Alabama. Georgia gets a Nick Saban-coached team that has been in the news all week because Saban contracted the disease and may or may not be on the sidelines. Saban is so ego-driven that if he misses and the Tide lose, he’ll have a big smile on his face, thinking that’s the reason they lost. In any event, Smart has spent almost five years in preparation for this exact moment. Georgia has looked every ounce the contender so far, and what's rolling onto the field against the Dawgs is not Nick Saban's machine at its finest, at the peak of its powers. If Smart can't win this one, it will be very difficult for anyone in the organization or fan base to keep the faith, to enter the next "big game" actually expecting to win instead of just hoping to win. Georgia has every advantage. There are no more excuses. No more getting outplayed. No more "they were just better than us today." because this time they're not. Losing this one is called choking. We'll suggest he gets it done and the name on everyone's lips afterward is Jeremy Pruitt, whose departure from Tuscaloosa will, at long last, be linked to the decline of the Alabama secondary. The Dawgs had the Tide by the short hairs not once but twice during Smart’s tenure and today is the day that the superior coach gets it done with or without an asterisk. Take the points but put Georgia in a money line parlay or two.
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Georgia +5 -105 (Risking 2.10 units - To Win: 2.00)