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2018 College Football National Championship: Position Battles

Who has the edge where?

Rose Bowl Game - Oklahoma v Georgia Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Who has the edge at...

Quarterback?

Jonathan: Alabama. Hurts has been spotty the last two games, but ultimately you trust the guy who’s been here before.

Jess: Alabama. Jalen has lost just two games in his tenure at Alabama. He has thrown just one interception all year, and he can hurt you with his legs. Plus, like Jonathan said, he’s been on the big stage like this before.

Running Back?

Jonathan: Georgia. I don’t usually like going against Damien Harris, but this is a no-brainer. The Dawgs’ top three running backs have combined for over 3,000 yards rushing. That’s insane.

Jess: I’m going to say Georgia. It helps that Jim Chaney calls a lot of run plays.

Wide Receiver?

Jonathan: Alabama. Georgia’s top three WRs all have similar stats unlike ‘Bama’s, but Calvin Ridley’s the best wideout on the field and the freshmen that spell the upperclassmen are all capable of making big plays. For the sake of depth, I like the Tide.

Jess: Alabama. Calvin Ridley is the best receiver playing in this game, but some of the younger guys like Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III and Irv Smith Jr. have shown flashes of brilliance this season. I’m waiting for Irv Smith Jr. to have a breakout game, so maybe this is it.

O-Line?

Jonathan: Push. I honestly can’t choose. UGA’s line paved the way for its prolific running game in 2017, but ‘Bama just handled the best defensive line in the country. For what’s being required of both units in this game, I feel they’re about equal.

Jess: Jonathan is wrong. Georgia’s offensive line is better. Fewer sacks, more rushing yards. They were already pretty good, but losing to Auburn (the first time) seems to have pushed them to the next level in subsequent games.

D-Line?

Jonathan: Alabama. Da’Ron “Twinkle Toes” Payne, Da’Shawn Hand and Raekwon Davis. They’re all disruptive and could give UGA’s line a legit fight.

Jess: Alabama. If you don’t know this by now, I don’t know what you’ve been doing all season.

Linebacker?

Jonathan: Georgia. You can’t argue with the Butkus Award winner. Roquan Smith has been sensational this season and he has an experienced group of players beside him in Smart and Tucker’s 3-4. This is the heart of the defense, right here.

Jess: Georgia. Roquan Smith is a mutant (in a good way). Alabama has the same (or more) talent, but injuries have really proved impactful at this position.

Secondary?

Jonathan: Alabama. Even if you had just Minkah Fitzpatrick and Ronnie Harrison at safety, you’d be set, but former walk-on-turned-starter Levi Wallace has been revelatory at corner this year. He leads the team with 14 PBUs and is as steady as any player for the Tide. This has truly been one of ‘Bama’s best secondaries in years.

Jess: Alabama. Read what Jonathan said. I agree with all of it, for once.

Special Teams?

Jonathan: Georgia. The only real positive about Alabama’s special teams is punter JK Scott. For UGA, Rodrigo Blankenship has been terrific and wideout Mecole Hardman is killing it as punt returner. This could be a game that comes down to special teams and Georgia has the edge in that department.

Jess: This is a trick question. Overall I think Georgia has the advantage here, but if the game becomes a battle of field position and defense, I’d take JK Scott over anybody in the United States.