Lanthorn sports staff’s Division I college football championship picks

GVL / Courtesy - College Football News

GVL / Courtesy - College Football News

Robbie Triano, Arpan Lobo, Brady McAtamney, D'Angelo Starks, and Kellen Voss

Robbie Triano: Alabama 35, Georgia 21

After the Alabama Crimson Tide walked all over the Clemson Bulldogs 24-6 in the playoff Sugar Bowl matchup Monday, Jan. 1, Alabama’s strength and conditioning coach took ahold of last year’s runner-up trophy (after losing to Clemson in the National Championship) and held it high above his head. 

Without hesitation, he then proceeded to viciously spike it on the locker room floor, shattering it into a million little pieces, while his players stared with eyes and jaws wide open. Before the players could even break the shock of what just happened, the coach then whipped out a sledge hammer, swinging it around like Thor to break the little pieces into even littler pieces, leaving a huge, inconvenient mess for the cleaning staff to deal with. 

First of all, what a textbook “football guy” move by this coach. This coach definitely had the Ricky Bobby mindset of “if you ain’t first, you’re last,” and he didn’t care if he hurt any feelings. Second, if that doesn’t rile Alabama head coach Nick Saban’s squad to go out and demolish SEC rival Georgia, then it’s time to reinvent the definition of “motivation” in the dictionary. Alabama has been the most dominant collegiate football program in the past decade, and I don’t see them losing the biggest game two years in a row. Roll Tide.

Brady McAtamney: Georgia 27, Alabama 21

I want to start this off with a disclaimer: I thought this game was going to be Oklahoma versus Clemson, and I predicted Clemson would win last year’s big game, so you should probably expect the opposite of what I’m guessing. That said, this all-SEC title game should be a dandy. There’s no denying that the conference is the most talented in the land and these two squads are the cream of the sweet southern crop. 

Unfortunately for the Tide, UGA’s ferocious ground game and talented air attack will overpower Alabama’s less-than-elite offensive prowess that the Dawgs will bottle up enough to give head coach Nick Saban and the gang their second consecutive loss in the National Championship. 

Kellen Voss: Georgia 38, Alabama 28

For the last few years, Alabama has been one of the most dominant teams college football has ever seen, and head coach Nick Saban has looked unbeatable in championship games. That is, until last year, when Saban and the Tide were beaten for the first time in the championship game by Clemson, proving there are indeed cracks in the Crimson armor. 

This isn’t your typical dominant Alabama defensive football team, as the Tide players haven’t looked at the top of their game all season, giving up more than 20 points three times this year. Expect Nick Chubb (say a quick prayer that he’s a Lion next year) and the Georgia Bulldogs’ running attack to take advantage of this Alabama defense that seems to be having a down year by their standards. Kirby Smart is a former assistant of Saban, and we’ve all seen the statistic making its rounds on social media that Saban’s former assistants have never beaten him in a football game (0-11). 

Well, there’s a first time for everything. Gosh, I wish Baker Mayfield were playing in this game.

Arpan Lobo: Alabama 24, Georgia 16

As much as I’d like to see any other program besides the Crimson Tide capture another National Championship, I have to pick Alabama for one reason: Head coach Nick Saban does not lose to his former assistants. In 11 games against his old assistants, Saban is a perfect 11-0, with an average margin of victory of 32 points.  

While Kirby Smart has done a great job to get Georgia into the playoffs, he’d be hard-pressed to become the first member of the Saban coaching tree to grab a win against his old coach. Even in the short existence of the college football playoffs, Saban has taken on a former apprentice, as the Tide crushed Mark Dantonio and Michigan State 38-0 in 2015. Now, Saban hasn’t coached against Smart yet, but I don’t think the Bulldogs will be able to get it done in Atlanta. 

Roll Tide.

D’Angelo Starks: Georgia 27, Alabama 23

Georgia is coming off of a very emotional game, which happened to also be the best college football game of the season. Georgia boasts a three-headed monster at running back, as well as a fast, athletic defense that can mirror the talented offense of Alabama. Although Alabama head coach Nick Saban boasts a perfect 11-0 record against his past assistants who’ve taken head coaching positions elsewhere, I suspect that Kirby Smart will break the mold and lead the Georgia Bulldogs to a National Championship. Go Dawgs!