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Opponent Preview: Alabama Crimson Tide

Can our Georgia Bulldogs rise above 2008's beating at the hands of Alabama and the heartbreak endured in the 2012 SEC Championship game?

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

School: The University of Alabama was established in 1831 and serves over 36,000 students.  While Northern interlopers may be quick to mock the education provided by a university in Alabama, it is a fine institution of higher learning with many successful alumni (including the doctor who delivered both my children).  Its also entirely possible that its campus is a gateway to Hell formed after Nick Saban made his infamous deal with the Devil.

Mascot: A Menstruating Elephant

Location: Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Head Coach: Nicholas Lou Saban, Jr. aka "The Armani Bear"

2014 record: 12-2 (7-1 SEC)

Conference: SEC

Celebrity Fans:

Both Paul Finebaum and his lady love, Phyllis from Mulga, Alabama.

SBN Site: Roll Bama Roll

Back in 2008, I got up at 3 am and headed to the Myers Quad so I could tell Desmond Howard face to face how much he sucks (which I thoroughly enjoyed).  Additionally, I managed to appear on College Gameday holding a sign promoting Dawg Sports and asking the question "Who's Afraid of the Armani Bear?" As it turns out, I (along with the rest of the Georgia contingent present that day) should have been very afraid indeed.  To this day, I believe the beating Georgia endured at the hands of Alabama that night was the impetus for the "Fire Mark Richt!" nonsense that we've been hearing ever since.

So going into the 2015 season, the question is: Can Georgia avenge that humiliating defeat and the heartbreak of the Georgia Dome in 2012? Can the Dawgs turn the page and exorcise the demons that have been haunting them ever since the last time they faced the Crimson Tide in Athens?

It initially seems difficult to predict the fortunes of a Crimson Tide squad that only returns 3 offensive starters (though they have 7 back on defense).  They'll need someone to replace the production of Amari Cooper at WR.  Much like Georgia, they'll be breaking in a new QB. Then there is the loss of TJ Yeldon's almost 1000 yards of production. Don't forget to toss in the fact that 3 starting offensive linemen headed off to the NFL.  You look at all of that and it seems like the team might be down this year.

Then you remember we're talking about Alabama.  This team doesn't rebuild, it reloads. Every. Single. Year. Four straight years of #1 recruiting classes will do that for you.

The running back position is really a non-issue as the Tide still have Derrick Henry, who actually outrushed Yeldon in 2014 and gained 5.8 ypc. A stable of highly touted wide receivers including high school All-Americans Chris Black and Robert Foster are ready to take the next step.  So while the loss of Amari Cooper certainly stings, there are more than enough 4 and 5 star talents to safely assume a big play making receiver will emerge.

At quarterback, Jake Coker and David Cornwell will be battling it out for the right to replace Blake Sims under center.  Most pundits seem to think Coker will ultimately win the job, but they've said similar things before.  Regardless of who wins the job, the Tide will have a talented individual taking snaps and that individual will have had plenty of time to get their feet wet prior to October 3rd.  As we all know Georgia finds itself in a similar position and it will be interesting to see how both quarterback situations develop leading up to the game.

Defensively, Alabama is in much better shape as they look to have a positively beastly front 7.  Defensive linemen A'Shawn Robinson, Jonathan Allen, and Jarran Reed all return to battle in the trenches.  Reggie Ragland should lead the linebacking corps and be able to improve upon his already stellar performance from 2014 in which his 95 tackles were second on the team.  While I have faith in Georgia's offensive line and Nick Chubb, our strength will most certainly be going against their strength.  The possible weakness for Bama's D is the secondary.  The lack of experience at safety and some occasionally suspect performances from the corners in 2014 could provide the opening Georgia needs to effectively score.  But the question remains whether or not Georgia's eventual starting QB will be able to successfully exploit that secondary.

Ultimately, this game will likely tell us everything we need to know about the Georgia Bulldogs of 2015.  While one can never discount the possibility of an inexplicable loss (we are Georgia after all), a win here would go a long way toward legitimizing the Dawgs as a serious College Football Playoff contender.

Prediction: I'm an optimist, so I'm gonna say 24-20 Dawgs on the strength of an amazing Nick Chubb performance and our mystery quarterback deciding this is the game to really bring it.  That said, any pessimists out there should feel secure and confident in the fact that this has the potential to be an absolute massacre preceding a devolution of the 2015 season into a total collapse of all of our hopes and dreams which then ultimately results in Butts-Mehre being burned to the ground by a furious mob demanding Mark Richt's head on a spike.

Should be a fun day...