Some might argue that Georgia’s near-miss against Alabama in the National Championship Game was indicative of an impending changing of the guard in the SEC. Brian Edwards is not one of those people.
The senior handicapper at VegasInsider.com said he thinks the gap between the teams will grow — not diminish — in 2018.
“If they were on a neutral field and I had to take the bets, I’d probably make ‘Bama at least an 8-point favorite,” Edwards told SEC Country earlier this week. “Probably 8-and-a-half. Maybe 9.”
Bulldogs fans might ask: Why? Didn’t Edwards see the ‘Dawgs establish themselves as an elite program last season? Wouldn’t common sense tell you that Georgia is soaring toward SEC domination?
Well, yeah, Edwards said, if you forget about Nick Saban’s unbelievable consistency in Tuscaloosa.
“I think Alabama’s got better talent,” Edwards said. “Just top to bottom. Better depth. Better coach. Georgia last year was much closer to ‘Bama — obviously, they were up double digits at halftime — but I think losing [running backs Nick] Chubb and [Sony] Michel was big. I think losing [linebacker] Roquan [Smith] was big. They lost some other good talent to the NFL on the defensive side. I just think Alabama is better top to bottom, 11 starters on each side.”
Edwards told SEC Country he believes Alabama will go 12-0 in the regular season, something it’s only accomplished three times — 2008, 2009 and 2016 — during Saban’s tenure. Edwards said he sees the Tide as at least 17-point favorites in 10 games, and heavy favorites in the other two (-8 at LSU and -10.5 vs. Auburn).
Georgia has the same over/under number in Vegas (10.5), but Edwards sees a different fate for the ‘Dawgs.
“I’m not as bullish on Georgia,” he said. “Everything Kirby’s got going is great. Recruiting is great. They were great last year. I think they lost a ton of talent … They’ve got a tougher schedule than ‘Bama. Getting Auburn and LSU out of the West, whereas Alabama gets Tennessee and Missouri out of the East. And I think Georgia Tech’s gonna be better than Louisville.”
To be clear, Edwards does list the Bulldogs as favorites in all 12 games. It’s just not as likely they will replicate their success of 2017. The verdict: a 10-2 finish.
“That still probably wins the East,” Edwards said, “but I don’t think Georgia makes the playoff this year.”