Kirk Herbstreit reveals his prediction for the SEC Championship Game
The SEC game we’ve all been waiting for is finally here as No. 1 Alabama and No. 4 Georgia are set to meet in Atlanta this weekend to decide the 2018 SEC Championship.
Of course, the Bulldogs won the SEC title last season but that achievement was trumped by the Crimson Tide winning the national championship over Georgia in Atlanta. Will the Bulldogs get their revenge in the very same building 11 months later?
According to ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit, the Bulldogs will not.
During the latest appearance on his ESPN college football podcast “Herbstreit & Fitzsimmons,” the College GameDay host was asked to give his prediction for the upcoming SEC Championship Game. The Bulldogs enter the game as nearly a two-touchdown underdog, which Herbstreit suggests may be too many points to give Georgia entering this game.
Led by a red-hot quarterback, Jake Fromm has thrown 11 touchdowns to only one interception and is completing around 77 percent of his passes in UGA’s six-game winning streak, Herbstreit believes Georgia’s offense has enough to test the Crimson Tide.
“I can’t wait to watch the two quaterbacks go at it,” Herbstreit said on the podcast. “Huge, huge fan of Jake Fromm’s — have been since I’ve watching him last year as a freshman. If you go back to last year, they went from winning games with Roquan Smith and that defense and running the ball with Chubb and Michel, to by the time they lost to Auburn, they said, ‘Hey, we are going to have to change things offensively.’
“They got into the SEC Championship and into the Playoff and national title by really throwing it around. I think Jake Fromm went to another level and I think it carried over to this year. I’ve been really impressed with how he blocked out the noise with Justin Fields and how they will play two quarterbacks and not wanting to make them mad and what are they going to do? It cost them in the LSU game because they didn’t attack, they were a little conservative. I think from that game on, they have not looked back.”
Of course, Georgia’s offense isn’t all Fromm and the passing game. The Bulldogs’ nearly hit another level on offense when the running game is thriving, which leads to playaction passes that offensive coordinator Jim Chaney loves to dial up. Herbstreit also credited the team’s running backs for being a big part of the offensive puzzle down in Athens.
“It’s helped that D’Andre Swift is healthy to go along with Elijah Holyfield. They are a really good one-two punch, just like last year,” Herbstreit continued. “The receivers, they have a very deep and talented group and to be candid, I think Jake Fromm is going to have to score with Tua.”
For all the positives the GameDay host pointed to for Georgia, he suggests the Kirby Smart/Mel Tucker defense is going to have its hands full on Saturday limiting arguably the greatest offense in Alabama history.
“I think Georgia’s defense is going to have a very hard time slowing down this Alabama attack,” Herbstreit said. “They don’t rush the quarterback well, they don’t penetrate the line of scrimmage and get into the backfield in the run game and because of that, they are going to have to be aggressive blitzing to get pressure. Bringing safeties, bringing linebackers and I think that kinda plays into the hands of what Alabama wants you to do.
“I wouldn’t be surprised to see Tua make some big plays early in this game, makes some throws, get the passing game going to set up their running game. Very balanced attack on both sides. I expect, I don’t know if it’s going to be the shootout that went into overtime in the national title game last year but I expect points by both sides. It’s going to be very competitive game. I like ‘Bama to win it but I think they are going to get pushed by Georgia.”