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SEC Championship Game: Predictions

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We’re just over two days from the SEC Championship Game. It’s the best kind of matchup where both teams are at the top of their game, both teams have yet to square off this year, and both teams are eligible to advance to the BCS Championship. Let’s get to some predictions…

Kevin:

I’m picking Georgia to win this game. Going back to prior to the season, I thought Alabama would lose at least two games in 2012. I thought they lost too much on defense to repeat the successes of last year. As the Tide began to roll early in the year, it appeared I was wrong. Then, the defense got waxed against LSU and Texas A&M.

Essentially, Alabama’s defense got beat by quality quarterback play. I think Aaron Murray is extremely talented and is up for the job. The third down conversion rates of both Texas A&M (61%) and LSU (50%) against the Alabama defense should be somewhat alarming for Alabama fans. Alabama’s defense struggled to get off the field against these teams. I think the same thing happens against Georgia.

Alabama does not have a dominant pass rusher, and Murray should have enough time to execute and make the throws. Georgia has weapons all over the field and will indeed look to spread it out and target Alabama’s secondary. Gurley provides the balance in the running game.

While nobody gives Richt the edge in the coaching department against Saban, I do think he is criticized a little too much. Georgia was ready to play last year against LSU in Atlanta, but struggled to regain momentum in the second half after a Honey Badger special teams touchdown. I think Richt gets his team ready to play again this year, but the team puts together a complete game.

Career defining victory for Mark Richt. Career defining victory for Aaron Murray.

Georgia 28, Alabama 24

Jon:

I’ve been on the fence for the last two weeks between these two teams and which would hoist the hardware Saturday night.

I’ve come to the conclusion that both teams are virtually equal in talent, and you simply can’t point to one massive advantage for either team.  The biggest advantage I see?  Nick Saban.  The way he game plans, disguises his defense and gets his team ready for big games is hard to pick against.  It takes great team performances to beat them. I’m not sure Mark Richt can beat Nick Saban – I’ll be honest.

Think back to Tim Tebow’s 2008 SEC Championship game, Cam Newton’s incredible comeback in Tuscaloosa, Johnny Manziel’s signature Heisman moment and Stephen Garcia’s game of his life in 2010. It all took amazing performances to beat Saban and Bama by the quarterback.  Can Aaron Murray accomplish that feat?  Of course he can, but primarily the quarterbacks to have success against Bama have not been pocket passers.  I’m not taking into account Murray’s record against top 25 teams in his career, because I think he’s poised to take the next step at any moment.

When two teams are equal in talented playing at a neutral site, I always like the team with the better running game, the better defense and the better special teams.  So far this season, Bama’s running game has averaged 214 yards per game, good for second in the SEC.  And while the defense was exposed against LSU and Texas A&M, they make you play your best game to beat them.  I expect Georgia to go up-tempo on offense in the first half in an effort to replicate how many plays LSU (86) and Texas A&M (78) were able to run.  Alabama is #1 in the SEC in kickoff returns, #7 in punt return, #6 in punting and #5 in field goals.  All are better than Georgia.  Field position will be crucial in this game, and Georgia’s 13th in the SEC in punting.

But Alabama must protect the ball on offense, because they were -5 in turnover margin against LSU and Texas A&M.

Alabama 24, Georgia 21

Photo Credit: Dale Zanine-US PRESSWIRE





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Comments 15

  1. DaveSEC
    Commented : 1 year ago

    On paper Alabama vs Georgia is a compelling matchup UNTIL you compare their stats vs Top 25 Opponents this year:

    http://statmilk.com/NCAAF/MatchUp/8/257/?orr=1-25

    Note Georgia’s Plays Per TD goes from 13 to 42! Yards Per Play drops from 7.0 to 3.9. All the time Alabama’s numbers stay pretty consistent.

  2. I really feel like Alabama will be too physical for UGA and will take the blueprint defensively from Carolina and Florida (if FLA didn’t turn the ball over so many times they would have won…but kuddos for UGA for forcing them)…Alabama 27 UGA 14

  3. Im a Dawg fan through and through so you know where my vote is going. With that being said I just really want Georgia to come out and play their best ball game of the year. I dont want them to be embarrassed like they were last year or earlier this year at SCar. I think if Georgia comes out and plays like they did against Florida, clean up the penalties and turnovers, and score early and often I think they can win. My picks are Georgia 28 Alabama 21.

    • BuckVincent, no I don’t think you are off base at all. I certainly don’t expect there to be a repeat of the Dawgs performance last year. LSU just got the snowball rolling downhill and Georgia couldn’t stop the momentum last year. LSU was not 32 points better than The Dawgs it was just one of those weird games. I think it’ll be a tough, tough low scoring game and maybe decided by a field goal. I have the unique perspective of being a Bama fan and alum who has lived in Georgia for 18 years. The Dawgs are my second favorite team and though I wish Bama wins I will certainly be a Dawg fan in the BCS title game if you win Saturday.

      • I’m a Dawg fan, also, but it’s hard to develop much confidence in any prediction. Bama is good, the Dawgs are good. I’m thinking now that this game may hinge on one of two things: field position or special teams. Given that scenario, it’s a tossup.

  4. Georgia and Alabama are the two most complete teams in all of college football. Not just the SEC. But the nation. Georgia’s a bit better on offense, and Alabama’s a bit better on defense. Neither is that great on special teams. They are both decent, but I will say Malcolm Mitchell and Todd Gurley can be extremely explosive when returning. Coaching wise? I love CMR. I think he is the best coach in the nation. But Saban has the championships. He has the prestige surrounding him, so naturally you go with Nick. Either way, I think that Richt won’t have his players come in scared or nervous. I expect a similar beginning to the 2007 World’s Largest Cocktail Party, but I expect the end result to be more like the the 2007 Alabama-Georgia game (UGA 26 – Bama 23 in OT). Either way, it shall be a great game.

  5. Georgia is going to put the peddle down but run out of gas come 4th quarter. Alabama will keep up with Georgia and simply outlast the bulldogs in the last 10 minutes of the game.

    • I don’t think Georgia will be affected by emotion as much as you think. Richt has proven this year that he can both motivate his charges to win, and also rein in their emotions. I think Georgia will be the one to outlast Bama at the end. But, as so many have said, we’ll just have to wait and see…

  6. This all comes down to Murray’s ability to throw vs. Alabama’s pass rush. As a Bama fan I am concerned about our ability to put pressure on the QB.

  7. Georgia fans are great. If we were playingTennessee, Florida or South Carolina all we would here is how much better they are better than Bama and how we’d get creamed. It will be a great game capable of being won by either team. I truly believe both Georgia and Bama are the two best and most complete teams from top to bottom in the nation. Either one of us will make a representation for the SEC in Miami and it’ll be a great BCS title game. Even I, a huge SEC supporter, didn’t want to see another all SEC BCS game. Notre Dame is a great tradition, Brian Kelly has done an excellent job bringing them back from being irrelevant in college football to beingat the top. However I think the SEC will be too much for them in the end.

  8. It’s hard to predict this game. I’m going to go with Georgia based on intangible: desire. Georgia has shown that they will not be denied the championship this year, even with the numerous setbacks. Georgia has had more to overcome than Alabama, and I think this will be the difference. Georgia 33, Alabama 28

  9. Georgia 27 Alabama 13
    Dawgs Jump out in front early forcing McCarron to pass and that Mad-Dawg Defense creates two 2nd half turnovers to seal the deal.

    Ogletree: 10+ tackles
    Jones: two late sacks
    Swann: 1 INT

    Murray: 21 for 32 with 245 yards 2 TDs and 1 INT
    Gurley: 19 rushes 73 yards/ 32 yards rec
    Marshall: 10 rushes 65 yards/ 19 yards rec and 1 TD
    Mitchell: 6 catches 87 yards and 1 TD

  10. I see this as being the actual Nat Champ game(as in 3 of the last 6 SECCGs) Both teams are stacked with future Sunday afternoon players. Overall starting talent top to bottom I give advantage to UGA. Coaching and big game experience goes to Bama. But one thing no one has mentioned is depth. For every O or D line, there has to be a quality rotation. From watching both teams a good bit, I think that advantage goes to Bama. They are rotating 2 and sometimes 3 deep, and not missing a step. Because of that, I see the game being deadlocked until the 4th qtr. But because of the depth Bama has, I think they’ll out last UGA. Final score? That’s anybodies guess. But 7 1/2 points ain’t gonna happen! Bama 20 – UGA 17.
    And as the cartoon says…”Notre dame… We’ll be with you shortly!”

  11. Keito
    Commented : 1 year ago

    Both teams are good on defense and offense. If both teams show up and play their best, it will probably e decided by one score or less. UGA 21 Bama 20

  12. If George can make a few big plays then they will win, but I think Bama will win the game in the fourth quarter.