Alabama Named A Rare Underdog

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Nick Saban of the Alabama
Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide leads his team on the field prior to the game against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan Hare Stadium on Nov. 25, 2017 in Auburn, Alabama.

Nick Saban finds himself in a very unfamiliar position ahead of the 2021 SEC Championship Game. The Alabama Crimson Tide is a decided underdog for Saturday’s matchup with No. 1 Georgia, a rarity for the legendary head coach.

The point spread at various sportsbooks favors the undefeated Bulldogs by 6.5 points with the conference title on the line. Since Alabama’s second season under Saban in 2008, the team has only been an underdog six times.

Saturday marks the first game since 2015 and just the second time since 2009 in which the Crimson Tide is an underdog. Before this week, Alabama’s opponent wasn’t favored in 163 of 164 contests.

Saban’s teams have usually pulled off the upset with the betting odds against them. Alabama beat Georgia 38-10 as a 1.5-point underdog six years ago. As a 4.5-point underdog in the 2009 SEC Championship Game, Alabama stunned Tim Tebow and Florida 32-13.

There is more than just the SEC title on the line Saturday at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Crimson Tide likely needs to win in order to make the College Football Playoff.

Alabama’s only loss this season was a 41-38 upset at Texas A&M on Oct. 9. The Crimson Tide entered the game as the No. 1 team in college football and a massive 18-point favorite. 

Georgia is the only team from a Power Five conference without a loss in 2021. The Bulldogs opened the season with a 10-3 win over Clemson. In 11 games since, Georgia has defeated every opponent by 17 points or more.

Heading into conference championship weekend, Georgia is viewed as the only team that is virtually guaranteed to make the playoffs.

Since the CFP’s inception in 2014, Alabama has been left out of the four-team field on just on occasion. 

Alabama has a 176-24 record with Saban as the head coach. Saban has led the program to six national championships, including three titles during the CFP era. 

Nick Saban of the Alabama

Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

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