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Charles Barkley picks Georgia to defeat Alabama in CFP national championship game

During a Friday appearance on sports radio show “Next Round Live,” Auburn University basketball legend Charles Barkley made his prediction for the 2022 College Football Playoff (CFP) national championship game.

Head coach Nick Saban and the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide resoundingly defeated the Georgia Bulldogs in December’s SEC Championship Game by a score of 41-27. Bama enters the national title game with a seven-game wining streak against the Bulldogs. However, this has not kept Saban and company from being placed as betting underdogs for Monday night’s matchup.

According to Las Vegas’ Caesars Sportsbook, the Alabama Crimson Tide are 2.5 point underdogs in its rematch against the Kirby Smart-led Bulldogs.

After playing witness to both teams’ overwhelming victories over their respected opponents in the CFP semifinals, Barkley sees the Tide and Bulldogs as far and away the two most talented teams in the nation.

“They’re the two best two teams by far. I think you saw that during the semifinals, there’s no way Cincinnati and Michigan had any chance whatsoever out there,” said the NBA Hall of Famer. “After watching those games in the first quarter, I’m like ‘these are two mismatches.’ Georgia and Alabama are the two best teams in the country, and I think we can say by far.”

Barkley went on to profess his respect for Saban and declared the seven-time national champion head coach to be the greatest of his profession. Notwithstanding his glowing assessment of the Bama head coach, Barkley predicted that Smart would emerge victorious against his former boss.

“So, I’m looking forward to the game. You know how I feel about coach Saban. I’ve got a lot of love and admiration for him. He’s the greatest college football coach ever,” proclaimed Barkley. “I’ve been blessed to be around him a few times, so I don’t root against coach Saban. But, that being said, I think Georgia’s going to win the game.”

Barkley sounded off on what he suggested Smart needed to do in order to energize his team.

“I wish he would come out and guarantee a win,” expressed Barkley. “I think when you’re in this situation, you’ve got to do something bold. Now, you’re going to get your ass handed to you if you lose… I would love to see Kirby come out and just say something bold and say ‘you know what, guys, coach Saban is the greatest coach ever but this is our time and we’re going to win the game.'”

According to Barkley, the Tide had more to lose in the SEC Championship Game due to it needing to win to make the playoff. He indicated that this fact helped Bama overcome the formerly top-ranked Bulldogs.

“You have to give Georgia the benefit of the doubt. You have to say to yourself… go back and look at that game. If Alabama doesn’t win, they don’t make the playoffs. Georgia really had a free game,” said Barkley. “So until Monday, I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt. That’s just my personal opinion.”

Should Alabama defeat Georgia, it will mark the Tide’s seventh national championship in 13 years. For Saban, a victory would further add to what is already seen by many as an unparalleled legacy.

ESPN will broadcast Monday night’s 2022 CFP national championship from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN, at 7:00 p.m.

Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL

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