Though Alabama has had a win over Georgia in three of its last four matchups since 2018 and defeated the Bulldogs as underdogs in the SEC championship on Dec. 4, 2021, Paul Finebaum believes UGA has surpassed the Crimson Tide as the leading program in college -Soccer.
The SEC Network host argued that Nick Saban and company lost too many of their key players to the NFL this past April and May. “Just look at the NFL on Sunday and there’s a lot of players from Alabama that aren’t on this campus anymore,” Finebaum said GetUp from ESPN Wednesday. “They still have the two that matter (Will Anderson and Bryce Young) but so many have gone and they haven’t replaced some of the elite wide receivers … they haven’t replaced some of the elite defensive players.”
Georgia lost 15 starters from its 2021 national championship roster, 9 of which came to the defensive side of football. Still, the defense has held its ground despite ranking behind Alabama on most defensive metrics through the three weeks of the 2022 season.
Paul Finebaum didn’t mention any other program besides Alabama and Georgia when speaking about college football dominance at this point. Traditional Big Ten powers like Michigan and Ohio State, which are currently in college football playoff slots when the season ends today, haven’t really had the discussion of which program is at the top of the sport.
With that out of the way, Finebaum sees Kirby Smart’s presence on the Georgia touchline as a reason why Alabama is no longer the nation’s premier powerhouse. “I think the biggest lack for Alabama today is the fact that Kirby Smart is in Georgia,” Finebaum said during the September 21 issue of GetUp. “He was Nick Saban’s most valuable assistant and he couldn’t replace that … and I think a lot of the shift has moved to Georgia.”
Smart picked up his first win over former boss Saban during the 2022 College Football Playoff Finals on January 10, 2022. He was previously 1-4 against the Crimson Tide – including a previous loss in the national championship on January 8, 2018.
After Paul Finebaum slammed Nick Saban for calling the 2021 season a rebuild year on Aug. 3, he refused to say the Alabama dynasty was over during his time GetUp interview from September 21st with longtime ESPN morning anchor Mike Greenberg.
Finebaum, while still acknowledging Smart’s absence as offensive coordinator for the Crimson Tide, credited the current man at the spot, Bill O’Brien. “And Nick Saban has good assistants; He has Bill O’Brien, but he was never able to replace Kirby Smart and I think the shift has already happened,” Finebaum said. “I’m not saying Dynasty is over, I’m not saying anything about it, Nick Sabans will be 71 soon … but Georgia is looking like a better program right now and they’re supporting it on the field.”
Georgia has a far better points difference after Alabama narrowly avoided an upset against Texas on Sept. 10 at DKR Stadium in Austin. The Bulldogs’ 49-3 win over Oregon is (by far) the best win for either team, but there’s not enough evidence that the Crimson Tide isn’t still the country’s premier program. A championship and three dominant games that allow for a total of 10 points early in the 2022 season don’t tip the scales all the way east to Georgia just yet. The Bulldogs would have a bigger claim after winning a possible SEC championship rematch in December 2022.