SEC Championship Game: What common opponents can tell Alabama about Georgia
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – When breaking down the upcoming showdown between No. 1 Alabama and No. 4 Georgia, everything must be examined.
The Crimson Tide (12-0) and the Bulldogs (11-1) are set to face off in the SEC Championship Game on Saturday afternoon inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
First up, we’re going to take a look at common opponents the two powerhouses have faced.
This season, Alabama and Georgia have four common opponents: Missouri, Tennessee, Auburn and LSU.
The Missouri, Tennessee and Auburn games aren’t worth examining, to be honest. Alabama and Georgia beat all three by at least two touchdowns. Both teams were clearly superior to those three opponents.
The closest of the bunch was Georgia beating Missouri 43-29, but the Bulldogs controlled the game throughout. Georgia beat Auburn by 17 and waxed Tennessee by 26, holding the Volunteers to 12 points. Meanwhile, Alabama outscored that trio 149-52.
The LSU game, however, is the big one. LSU is by far the best team of the four. The Tigers were ranked No. 7 in the latest College Football Playoff standings before a seven-overtime loss to Texas A&M this past Saturday.
LSU got both Georgia and Alabama at home, and the two games couldn’t have gone more differently.
The Bulldogs entered Death Valley on Oct. 13 for a midday squabble. The then-No. 13 Tigers pounded then-No. 2 Georgia in a game that wasn’t as close as the 36-16 final score indicates. It was all LSU in the first half. The Tigers left some points on the field in the half but held Georgia scoreless and took a 16-0 lead into the break.
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow accounted for 266 yards and 2 touchdowns in the signature win of Ed Orgeron’s current tenure.
The stars of the day were LSU’s defensive players, particularly the secondary. LSU intercepted 2 Jake Fromm passes. Georgia fans and media pundits questioned if Kirby Smart should make the switch from Fromm to freshman Justin Fields.
As for Alabama-LSU, it was billed as a heavyweight fight, but only one team brought a knockout punch. Alabama handled LSU 29-0, its first of back-to-back shutouts (Mississippi State, 24-0) to start the November run.
LSU’s defense played about as well against the Crimson Tide as you could have hoped. The Tigers were the first team to hold Alabama under 35 points all season. Tua Tagovailoa looked human for the first time all year as he battled a lingering knee injury. But the Tigers defense couldn’t hold Alabama for all 60 minutes. Tagovailoa threw for 2 touchdowns and ran for another, while Damien Harris gave Alabama 107 yards and a score on the ground to push Alabama over the top.
LSU’s offense could muster nothing against a re-energized Alabama coming off a bye week. No LSU receiver had any success, and Burrow ran for his life all night as Alabama’s defensive line constantly beat LSU’s offensive line to put pressure on the quarterback.
That’s the one thing separating the two when it comes to common opponents. The one good team both squads had to play beat down Georgia and couldn’t do anything against Alabama.
Georgia’s inability to have offensive success against LSU should be concerning for Bulldogs fans with Alabama coming up.
Alabama has a better scoring defense, rushing defense, passing defense and total defense than the Tigers. And LSU seemingly did what they wanted to do against Georgia but shot themselves in the foot close to the end zone.
Just imagine what Tagovailoa and Alabama’s high-octane offense are capable of doing. Alabama is averaging 49 points per game, which is No. 2 in the country.
It’s easy to say that any team can beat anyone on any given Saturday, but Alabama never gets blown out like Georgia did earlier this year.