No. 2 Alabama hosts No. 3 Georgia in Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday in a game that might be the perfect encapsulation of what the 2020 college football season looks like entering its seventh week. It's a game between a pair of top-three teams that might be the biggest matchup of the regular season.
After a bit of drama and uncertainty thrown into the middle of the week, it's all systems go for Nick Saban and Alabama. Saban (along with athletic director Greg Byrne) tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday. However, the coach completed three straight days of negative tests and is expected to be on the sidelines at Bryant-Denny Stadium for this titanic showdown.
While that's the biggest news entering the game, the fact remains that -- with or without Saban in attendance -- there's a lot on the line for both teams in a game that could serve as an SEC Championship Game preview (and possible College Football Playoff preview as well). These are the only two SEC teams who have yet to suffer a loss this season, and after Saturday, only one will remain undefeated.
Kirby Smart will also look to become the first former Saban assistant to beat his old boss. Saban is a remarkable 21-0 against his former staff members and it's of note that even if Saban was unable to coach this game, it would have counted against his record. Smart has come extremely close in the last two meetings, losing in overtime of the national title game in 2018 and in the SEC Championship Game the following year after being up late in the fourth quarter.
Here's all the information for how you can watch the game and follow live, as well as an expert pick against the spread.
Game: No. 2 Alabama (-4) vs. No. 3 Georgia
Odds via William Hill Sportsbook
Date: Saturday, Oct. 17 | Time: 8 p.m. ET
Location: Bryant-Denny Stadium -- Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Alabama vs. Georgia pick
I was initially on Alabama to cover this spread when they were six-point favorites before the Saban news broke, and I haven't changed my mind since. We can't know what kind of impact Saban's absence will have on the team, but his staff is full of coaches who have been in charge of major programs like USC, Texas and Tennessee. They know what to do.
The game will still be decided by the players no matter what, and although Georgia's defense is phenomenal, I don't think there's a defense in the country that can stop Alabama's offense. You might slow it down, but it's likely going to score at least 27 points. What I don't know is whether Georgia's offense, which hasn't been all that explosive to begin with, can keep pace with Stetson Bennett at quarterback in his first career road start. So I'll stick with my original feeling and lay the points with the Crimson Tide. Pick: Alabama (-4)