The SEC Championship Game is set. The Alabama Crimson Tide and Georgia Bulldogs are meeting in Atlanta with a trip to Miami and national title hopes on the line. Here are five reasons why Alabama fans should not think this Saturday will be easy:
1. The Tide’s talent is matched at every position.
Over the past five years, Georgia has averaged finishing eighth in recruiting according to the ESPN rankings. Alabama has averaged third. This season the Bulldogs have just as much NFL talent according to most draft boards. Jarvis Jones, Baccari Rambo and John Jenkins lead a defense that has only improved over the year.
“I feel like we are more talented,” Rambo said recently on ESPN Radio. “We have better players at each position, across the board, especially on defense. It’s gonna be a great challenge, I know it’s gonna be a great battle.”
Although Rambo’s opinion may be a bit biased, he could be correct. In the Tide’s only loss this season, it was the big plays made by Texas A&M’s star players that led to an upset. If the Bulldogs catch a good day from all their talent, it will be tough for anyone to beat them.
2. Aaron Murray
We all remember what happened the last time the Tide faced a talented, Heisman candidate quarterback. Although Murray isn’t getting the hype that Johnny Manziel has, he still has great numbers. He has an FBS-leading 177.3 passer rating along with his 9.9 yards per attempt. Another thing the Bulldog senior has is experience. If a freshman quarterback did what we saw to the Tide’s defense, what will a projected first-round quarterback do?
3. Underrated offense
The Georgia defense is a constant topic of conversation, yet the Bulldogs’ offense is just as equally talented. They average 38 points per game with a multi-dimensional attack. While averaging 274 pass yards and 190 rush yards per game, Aaron Murray leads the offense (see No.2) but playmakers are found at the other positions. Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall lead the rushing attack, each averaging over six yards per carry.
But Georgia’s deepest position may be at wide receiver. Six Bulldogs have had catches over 40 yards this season and Murray’s 31 touchdowns have been split between ten receivers, with eight of those going to Tavarres King.
Georgia is 3-1 against Alabama since Mark Richt took over. The Bulldogs are 2-2 all-time in the SEC Championship game compared to Alabama’s 3-4. The Bulldogs come into this game playing their best football of the year, outscoring their last five opponents by an average of 27 points which is just better than Alabama’s 25 points. If going strictly by history, the Bulldogs are the favorite.
5. Georgia is the underdog
In a game of this magnitude, motivation can be a huge factor. And with Alabama already being commonly mentioned as Notre Dame’s opponent in the BCS title game, the Bulldogs are motivated to come out with their A-game. In a SportsNation poll asking who will win this game, only one state sided with the Bulldogs; you guessed it, the state of Georgia.
Although the ticket sales are split, the home field advantage will still be a factor. After what happened last season, these Bulldogs aren’t the biggest fans of the SEC West. Revenge is just another factor to add to Georgia’s motivation.