The Daily Nole

2017 National Championship: FSU Rooting Guide and Predictions

Ross Obley/FSU athletics

Controversial or not, the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship will feature two teams from the SEC. No. 3 Georgia, fresh off a thrilling double-overtime victory over Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl, faces No. 4 Alabama, who cruised to victory against top-ranked Clemson.

And although Florida State will not be participating in this year’s championship, the result will have a significant impact on the program.

We here at The Daily Nole decided to give you all the reasons why you should root for Alabama — or Georgia. The choice is yours. We also offered our predictions for Monday night’s college football finale:

The case for Georgia

The most obvious point in discussion is the effect that a national championship would have on recruiting. Florida State has gotten into high profile recruiting battles with Georgia more recently, with the most notable being Justin Fields and James Cook. Taking just this into account, it would seem to dictate that fans should cheer for Georgia to lose, but consider this: Georgia has always recruited at a high level, and before it was even considered likely to make the playoffs, it already had tons of momentum on the trail. The local talent is always going to be tough to sway.

Even if the Bulldogs do pull off the upset for a national title, there might not actually be much of a difference in recruiting results for Florida State. Neither outcome would be beneficial since FSU still regularly gets in recruiting battles with Alabama as well (Jameis Winston, Vandarius Cowan, Keith Gavin, etc.)

In of itself, recruiting is not a good reason to root for Georgia. However, it does set up this main point: Georgia is considered by Florida fans as either the Gators’ biggest or second biggest rival.

Florida State fans are well versed in the trash talk with Gator fans and neither team wants to see the other succeed. If you fall into the category of Seminole fans that revel in schadenfreude, imagine the reality where both Georgia and Florida State have a more recent national title than Florida.

The case for Alabama

Like it or not, Monday’s contest has everything to do with recruiting. While the state of Georgia may not be priority No. 1 for new head coach Willie Taggart, it certainly helps to have that pipeline.

That pipeline was already in jeopardy with how well the Bulldogs did this season. The Dawgs snatched top-ranked quarterback recruit Justin Fields and pulled Dalvin Cook’s younger brother, James, from FSU as well. While the loss of Cook does not hurt too much (the Noles are loaded at the running back position), losing recruits left and right to UGA is not a good look, especially considering that Georgia has far lesser-quality facilities than FSU.

Then again, the Dawgs do have a stadium that seats 20,000 more than Doak.

And they actually fill it up (looking at you, student section and Champions Club).

Every week.

If you thought this recruiting cycle was rough, just wait and see what happens when Kirby Smart wins his first national championship in Athens. It could get a lot worse. FSU and Georgia aren’t rivals by any means, but do battle for many of the same recruits. A national championship for Georgia would make Taggart’s job that much tougher.


Mike Ferguson, editor: Alabama 23, Georgia 13

Those who haven’t followed either team playing in the title game closely may be expecting a contrasting of styles after watching Georgia win 54-48 over Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl. From where I’m sitting however, I think this one will be all about defense.

Being healthy at linebacker proved to be a huge lift for Alabama in its 24-6 Sugar Bowl win over Clemson. Offensively however, the Bulldogs are much more potent than the Tigers. Although quarterback Jake Fromm played well against the Sooners in Pasadena, he’s a true freshman and an afterthought when it comes to stopping the Georgia offense with the running combination of Sony Michel and Nick Chubb being at the forefront of defensive coordinators’ minds.

Alabama under head coach Nick Saban has been close to impossible to run against and that does not bode well for Georgia. For that reason, I like Saban to win a sixth title overall and a fifth as head man in Tuscaloosa.

Joshua Mixon, lead columnist: Georgia 21, Alabama 17

You all remember that Alabama-LSU game a while ago? You know, the “Game of the Century” back in 2011. Two juggernaut defenses; two offenses that specialize in running the ball. LSU won 9-6. In overtime.

While I don’t expect Monday night’s game to be quite that level of ugly, this isn’t going to be a fun game to watch, unless you have some serious rooting interest. Alabama simply won’t be able to move the ball against Georgia’s linebacker corps of Lorenzo Carter, Roquan Smith, Davin Bellamy and Reggie Carter. Georgia sure as heck isn’t running the ball the way it did against Oklahoma, when the Dawgs averaged somewhere around 10 yards per carry.

That means that freshman quarterback Jake Fromm must make the big throws if the Dawgs are to have a chance in this one — something he hasn’t done in 2017.

And you know what? I think he’ll do it. I picked against UGA last week and the Dawgs made my eat my words. I’m taking Kirby and company this time around — though it won’t be nearly as entertaining as last week.

Clint Eiland, lead writer: Alabama 31, Georgia 10

Nick Saban’s ridiculous record against former assistants will remain intact. As talented as Sony Michel and Nick Chubb are, they’re about to go up against an Alabama defense which simply does not let teams run on them. They’ll have good moments but it’s difficult to see them repeating their performances against Oklahoma.

If you hold that to be true, then Jake Fromm is the best shot that the Bulldogs have at beating the Crimson Tide. That doesn’t bring much confidence.

Jalen Hurts and the Alabama offense will chip away at a suspect Georgia secondary and try to limit any possible turnovers. Georgia is built a lot like Alabama, but much like the Golden State Warriors of the NBA, you can’t beat them at their own game.

Game Info
2017 College Football Playoff National Championship
Alabama vs. Georgia
Monday, Jan. 8
8 p.m. EST, ESPN

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