National championship, Georgia vs. Alabama: Early predictions, picks, line, odds

For the second time in seven seasons, two teams from the Southeastern Conference will go head-to-head for a national title as No. 2 Georgia and No. 4 Alabama are set to meet Monday in the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship.

For the Bulldogs, it is their first opportunity at a title since the 1983 season, when they lost out on a crown to Penn State. Georgia's last championship came back in 1980. The Crimson Tide will be playing in their third straight title game and sixth in nine seasons. Alabama is 4-1 in its previous five games and defeated LSU 21-0 in that prior all-SEC meeting to win the 2011 title.

There will be plenty of breakdowns and analysis to come as the SEC foes square off for the national championship. You will hear about Georgia coach Kirby Smart's experience as a branch off Nick Saban's coaching tree as Alabama's former defensive coordinator. The success of the Bulldogs' running game will be touted, and the Tide's sudden resurgence in its dominant victory over Clemson will be questioned. Saban's pedigree will be compared with Smart's youth and relative inexperience leading a team on such a big stage, and it will be mentioned that Saban is 11-0 all-time against his proteges.

For now, the first and most important question is who we believe will win the game. Here's the direction our CBS Sports panel of college football experts are going as of late Sunday night after the CFP semifinals. Picks are subject to change ahead of the national championship.

CBS Sports Writer

Chip Patterson has spent his young career covering college sports from the Old North State. He's been writing and talking about football and basketball for CBS Sports since 2010. You may have heard him... Full Bio

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