Georgia has the edge over Alabama in simulated games

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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UGA, Alabama to Face Off In National Championship

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

In Las Vegas, Alabama is a clear favorite over Georgia. In the world of college football simulations … not so much.

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We used to pit the Crimson Tide and Bulldogs head-to-head 100 times. The engine featured up-to-date rosters — including current injuries — and individual box scores. It also had a clear preference between the teams that will play for the national championship on Monday night (8 p.m. ET, ESPN).

Georgia won 67 of the 100 matchups, boasting an average output of 24.5 points against Alabama’s 21.1.

Here are a few specific aspects we tracked:

  • (Number of times) Alabama won by 10-plus points: 22
  • Georgia won by 10-plus points: 37
  • Alabama won by 20-plus points: 10
  • Georgia won by 20-plus points: 12
  • Alabama won by 30-plus points: 1
  • Georgia won by 30-plus points: 2
  • Alabama won in overtime: 0
  • Georgia won in overtime: 1
  • Jalen Hurts topped 300 total yards: 17
  • Hurts topped 100 rushing yards: 7
  • Damien Harris topped 100 rushing yards: 16
  • Harris topped 200 rushing yards: 1
  • Bo Scarbrough topped 100 yards: 1
  • Calvin Ridley topped 100 receiving yards: 14
  • Alex Pappanastos missed at least one field goal: 42
  • Jake Fromm threw for at least 200 yards: 24
  • Fromm threw for at least 300 yards: 2
  • Fromm threw at least 2 touchdowns: 21
  • Fromm threw 3 touchdowns: 4
  • Fromm attempted at least 20 passes: 62
  • Fromm attempted at least 30 passes: 2
  • Nick Chubb topped 100 rushing yards: 46
  • Chubb topped 200 rushing yards: 2
  • Sony Michel topped 100 rushing yards: 23
  • Michel topped 200 rushing yards: 0
  • D'Andre Swift topped 100 rushing yards: 5
  • Two Georgia running backs topped 100 rushing yards each: 11
  • Rodrigo Blankenship missed at least one field goal: 37

Alabama-Georgia anomalies

There were bound to be some weird box scores over the course of 100 simulations. Here were the most notable moments:

  • In a 36-6 Georgia win, Nick Chubb (258 rushing yards) and Sony Michel (172) combined for 430 on the ground. Even if Georgia plays an outstanding game, those numbers seem more like one in a million than one in a hundred.
  • In a 35-24 Alabama win, backup quarterback Tua Tagovailoa rushed three times for 81 yards (on top of Hurts' 348 total yards) and the top four Crimson Tide receivers were Hale Hentges (89 yards), Jerry Jeudy (86), Henry Ruggs (65) and Najee Harris (39).
  • In a 44-20 Alabama win, Hurts absolutely silenced his doubters with a monster performance. He completed 23 of 31 passes for 389 yards, 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. His pair of first-quarter touchdown strikes to Ridley helped the Tide run away early.

National championship fireworks generates play-by-play accounts of each game. The details aren’t perfect — especially in regard to situation-based strategy — but it does the trick. Here are a handful of interesting endings:

  • Alabama 19, UGA 16: Facing a 16-12 deficit and having not reached the end zone the entire game, Alabama took over at its 20-yard line with about 2 minutes remaining. On third-and-7, Damien Harris ripped off a 68-yard run — an odd call, certainly — and Hurts punched in the winning 4-yard touchdown two plays later.
  • UGA 34, Alabama 31: An MVP-type performance from Hurts (284 total yards and 2 passing scores) was cut short when he threw an interception on first-and-10 from the Georgia 14-yard line with seconds remaining.
  • UGA 34, Alabama 31: One Georgia drive after tying the score with a 33-yard field goal, the Bulldogs had the ball again on their 40-yard line and plenty of time to win. But seven plays yielded just 26 net yards. Forced to gamble, the Bulldogs sent out Blankenship for a 51-yarder, and he nailed it as time expired.
  • UGA 13, Alabama 10: A huge kick return got Alabama to the Georgia 35-yard line on the final drive, but the Crimson Tide stalled, and a 49-yard field-goal attempt by Pappanastos was no good at the final gun.
  • UGA 27, Alabama 23: A 42-yard field goal by Pappanastos put the Tide ahead 23-20, but the Bulldogs countered with a long kick return and Fromm found Terry Godwin for the winning 13-yard touchdown pass with no time remaining.
  • UGA 37, Alabama 34: Hurts tied the score with a 1-yard run on the final play of regulation, but — following a 41-yard overtime field goal by Blankenship — threw a first-down interception on Alabama's first OT drive that ended the game.
  • UGA 21, Alabama 20: On the final Georgia drive, Fromm (only 38 passing yards entering the possession) led the Bulldogs on a 16-play, 86-yard excursion that culminated in 3-yard game-winning touchdown pass to Riley Ridley.
  • UGA 36, Alabama 30: Instead of attempting a Hail Mary from its 42, Georgia opted to play for overtime and handed the ball to Chubb. Fifty-eight yards later, the Dawgs had a stunning victory.
  • UGA 33, Alabama 31: Needing a touchdown to win, Georgia drove 80 yards on 11 plays to take the lead in the final minute. Chubb's 2-yard scoring run was the clincher, and Alabama had only two plays from its 20 before the clock ran out.
  • Alabama 27, UGA 23: Georgia took a 23-20 lead on a 42-yard field goal by Blankenship, but Alabama stormed down the field and Hurts hit Scarbrough for the winning 6-yard touchdown with no time remaining.

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