The #2 Alabama Crimson Tide and #3 Georgia Bulldogs face off in Atlanta this weekend for the SEC Championship game. Once again, this year’s matchup is a play-in game with the victor moving on to face the Irish in South Beach and the loser likely falling out of BCS Bowl contention altogether.
Kickoff: 4:00 PM EST
Series: Alabama leads 36-25-4
Series Since 1992 When SECChampionship Game Was Added: 3-3
Series for SEC Championship: None
Last Meeting: September 27, 2008, Alabama 41, Georgia 30
Line, just in case you want to know who is favored, not because you are betting on this game, right?: Alabama -7 as of Wednesday
Junior QB AJ McCarron, who holds the second best Quarterback Rating in the country,averaging a 176.3 QPR and 208.9 passing yards per game, leads the Crimson Tide against the Bulldogs. McCarron has thrown 25 touchdowns on the year and is surrounded by numerous offensive weapons, including RB’s junior Eddie Lacy and freshman T.J. Yeldon. The two-headed monster of Lacy and Yeldon have combined for 1848 rushing yards this season and 24 touchdowns (second best rushing attack in the SEC), with Lacy averaging 83.4 yards per game and Yeldon averaging 70.5 yards per game. On the other side of the ball, the Crimson Tide boost the number one rated defense in the country, allowing an average of 233.7 yards per game.
Georgia is led by junior QB Aaron Murray, who holds the country’s number one Quarterback Rating at 177.1. Murray has thrown for 3201 yards this season and 30 touchdowns (Second only to Johnny “Football” Manziel). He averages 266.8 passing yards per game. Murray is also surrounded by a talented backfield in freshman RB’s Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, otherwise known as “Gurshall.” The two freshmen have combined for 1858 yards rushing. Gurley leads all running backs in the SEC with 1138 yards this season (second to Johnny Football) and 14 touchdowns (second again to, you guessed it, Johnny Football). Marshall has also had a surprisingly successful freshman campaign, rushing for 720 yards and eight touchdowns. On defense, the Bulldogs pack a one-two punch in preseason All-Americans Jarvis Jones and Bacarri Rambo. Junior LB Jones is third in the SEC with 10.5 sacks this season. NFL scouts are drooling over Jones with some projecting the second year starter to go number one overall in the 2013 NFL draft. Senior S Rambo is tied for third in the SEC with three interceptions.Rambo’s best game of the year came against Florida in Jacksonville, when the senior finished the day with five tackles, one sack and one interception.
Much like any other year, this year’s SEC Championship holds major BCS title implications. If Alabama should win, Nick Saban’s team will play for it’s third national title in four years. However, an upset by Georgia will cap off Mark Richt’s seventh 10 win season since 2001 with the ultimate prize: a chance for the national title.
Stat That Makes It Sound Like Alabama Should Win: The Crimson Tide has the best defense in the nation and has only allowed one team all year to score more than 17 points in a game.
Stat That Makes It Sound Like Georgia Should Win: The Bulldogs have the most efficient quarterback in the nation and the SEC’s leading running back. Georgia’s balanced attack leads the SEC in yards per play.