The Falcons are 2-point favorites over the top-seeded Eagles, a highly unusual occurrence.

True to their nature, both coaches are loath to talk about the other’s program in the runup to the CFP semifinals. They remain cordial, but the competition between them in recruiting and in the SEC will only increase in the coming years. When Smart landed the Georgia job, he hired away Alabama defensive backs coach Mel Tucker as his defensive coordinator, which bothered Saban.

Before the 2016 season, Smart and Saban butted heads over Tide safety Maurice Smith, who left Alabama for Georgia as a graduate transfer. Saban didn’t want to allow Smith to transfer to another SEC school, but Smart challenged the SEC rule and received a conditional waiver that allowed Smith to play for the Bulldogs immediately.

“I don’t take stuff like that personally,” Saban said. “I really don’t. Kirby did a good job for me for a long time. I think he’s doing a really good job now. I think he’s taken the situation there and really done a great job with it. I respect the [hell] out of that.”

In the most recent recruiting cycle, Georgia has signed seven of the top 30 prospects in the ESPN 300, including No. 1 overall player and dual-threat quarterback Justin Fields, No. 1 running back Zamir White and No. 1 guard Trey Hill. The Bulldogs also flipped safety Nadab Joseph, who had previously committed to Alabama.

“I think we all have the same structure in recruiting, but we’ve got a good sell,” Smart said. “We’ve got a great education; we have a great location; and we won, which was the biggest difference. I think it was a little bit of a perfect storm for us. We had a huge game in the SEC championship game [a 28-7 victory over Auburn on Dec. 2], which built momentum for us. I think people wanted to come to Nike NFL Jerseys From China Georgia, but they just wanted to see that we could win. Once they saw that, things fell into place.”

But one that, with Carson Wentz on the sideline, makes enough sense.

Still, let’s give Tennessee tremendous credit for how it rallied in Kansas City. The MLB Jerseys Wholesale Titans showed resolve and an ability to come up with big plays on offense that few expected.

“You’ve got every team fighting to play for the next week,” Patriots safety Devin McCourty says. “Nobody’s going to go out there — and I don’t care if you’re down, if you’re up — like no one is going to quit. So, that’s something I think we always talk about, and obviously you could see it in that game against Kansas City.”

But this one is in New England. Yes, it’s gotten tiresome to travel (and travel, and travel) to Foxborough for playoff games. There’ll be another one up there next weekend.

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