Who will win the SEC championship and who will be the next coach at AU?Published 10:35am Thursday, November 29, 2012
Saturday afternoon, all eyes will turn to the Georgia Dome in Atlanta to see who will emerge as the SEC champion and take on undefeated Notre Dame for the national championship in January.
SEC West champion Alabama will tangle with East champion Georgia Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m.—with the winner most likely to advance to play for the SEC’s seventh straight BCS National Championship.
Alabama comes into the game with an 11-1 record after blanking archrival Auburn last week 49-0 in the Iron Bowl—a loss that eventually sealed the fate for the Tigers Gene Chizik. Georgia comes into the game with an identical record of 11-1 after taking down their rival Georgia Tech 42-10.
Alabama’s lone loss is to Texas A&M while Georgia’s lone loss was to South Carolina.
Alabama’s trip to the championship game Saturday makes its eighth appearance in the title game. It will be the first meeting between the Crimson Tide and Bulldogs since 2008 and the first in the SEC Championship Game. Alabama’s eight SEC Championship game appearances is the most of any Western Division team, while UGA is making its fifth appearance. All of Alabama’s previous trips to the SEC title game have come against the Florida Gators.
The Tide leads the series 36-25-4 over the Bulldogs with the Tide coming away with a 41-30 victory in Athens on Sept. 27, 2008.
This will be the fifth trip for Georgia, all under Mark Richt including the second in a row. Georgia is 2-2 in these games, winning the SEC in 2002 and 2005.
Alabama and Georgia come into the game as the second and third ranked teams, respectively, in the BCS Standings, Associated Press, Harris Interactive and USA Today polls.
The SEC championship game, which started in 1992, is in its 21st year. It was a result of conference expansion, which saw Arkansas and South Carolina become the first members added in SEC history. The first two games were played at Legion Field in Birmingham and the game has been played at the Georgia Dome since 1994.
Georgia will be vying for its 13th SEC Championship and first since 2005. Alabama is attempting to win its 23rd SEC title and first since 2009. While Georgia’s Richt has won two SEC championships in 2002 and 2005 for the Bulldogs, Alabama’s Nick Saban has won three SEC titles. Of the three, two came at LSU in 2001 and 2003 and one at Alabama in 2009.
While the trip to the title game is Alabama’s eighth trip, the Tide is only 3-4 in the championship game—their last win coming 2009 when they defeated Florida 32-13.
The Tide lost to Florida in 2008 while Auburn won the game in 2010 and LSU won the game last season.
There have been several predictions about this game with some picking the Tide to win and some picking the Bulldogs.
I have looked at four predictions this Thursday morning before writing this blog and three picked the Tide to win while one picked the Bulldogs.
I expect the game to be a pretty good game. Both teams look pretty even on paper. The question I have seen from several stories is will the Bulldog passing game succeed against Alabama’s secondary like Texas A&M did and LSU did against the Tide?
I expect this game to be close in the first half and possibly even into the fourth quarter, but the Tide’s offensive line and run game should wear down the Bulldogs in the fourth quarter and pull out the win.
Look for Alabama to come away with the SEC title with a 24-17 win and go on and face Notre Dame down in Miami for a chance to win their second straight BCS title and third in four years.
Let me hear your SEC championship game predictions.
On a different note, for all my Auburn friends and readers out there, what are your thoughts on the head coaching situation up on the plains?
Were you glad to see coach Chizik let go? Who do you think Auburn will hire as their next head coach? Charlie Strong? Jimbo Fisher? Kirby Smart? Gus Malzahn? Gary Patterson? Bobby Petrino? Or someone else?
Until we meet again here or out in the world of sports, may your Thursday and the rest of your week be great and God bless!