- Christopher Walsh, SEC Country
They haven’t talked all week, and they’re not going to. Not until after the College Football Playoff National Championship Game.
“I’ll probably give him a hug, text him, start back everything,” Georgia wide receiver Riley Ridley said. “We’re brothers, you know.”
While a lot is being made of the numerous relationships between the coaches, including of Nick Saban squaring off against his former defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, no one in the title game has a stronger bond than Alabama junior wide receiver Calvin Ridley and his younger brother Riley.
“I want him to do good … but I want us to win,” Calvin said.
Although the brothers say that they’re close, and are usually in touch, they’ve put that on hold. Usually they’re often in contact, either though texts or phone calls, but after what they called a normal Christmas back home in the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, area, they sort of went their own ways for a bit.
They had enough to worry about in dealing with Clemson and Oklahoma in their respective semifinal games.
“It’s been intense,” Riley Ridley said. “Mom doesn’t know who she wants to root for. She’s a little nervous because both of her boys will be on the field at the same time.”
Calvin thinks she’ll lean toward Riley because he doesn’t have a national championship ring, and this way both would have one.
Regardless, the winner will have lifetime bragging rights.
“You better believe it,” Riley Ridley said.
Although Riley Ridley was also recruited by Alabama, he opted for Georgia in part to forge his own path — and at his brother’s encouragement.
The sophomore reserve has eight receptions for 136 yards and 2 touchdowns this season.
Calvin leads Alabama with 59 receptions for 935 yards and four touchdowns this season. No one else on the Crimson Tide has more than 16 catches.
He’s second in Alabama history with 220 catches and 18 receiving touchdowns, and third in receiving yards with 2,749.
“Calvin is special,” Nick Saban said during the national championship game media day Saturday morning.
Calvin said none of the defensive backs had asked him for advice on covering his brother, but if they asked him he would. “He’s big and he has good hands,” are the keys.
Riley (6-2, 200 pounds) is a little bigger and more physical. Calvin (6-1, 190) is more of a technician and isn’t afraid to throw blocks on much bigger defenders.
As for who is better at getting under an opposing player's skin during a game, they’re not quite in agreement.
“We don’t really talk trash,” Riley Ridley said. “It may look like we talk trash, (but) it’s more of ‘Let’s go! That’s all you got?’”
“He is probably,” Calvin said.
Both thought this matchup was going to happen in this building, but in a different game. Georgia clinched a spot in the SEC championship game early, but then Alabama lost at Auburn — setting up the rematch of the “Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry,” which has been described as like playing your brother.
“It’s the perfect stage,” Riley Ridley said.