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SEC Championship 2012 Preview: Alabama vs. Georgia

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Another year, another de facto BCS National Championship semifinal game takes place in Atlanta in early December.

My picks record on the year is 96-15.

This year’s contest features two teams that dominated competition but also were caught looking one weekend and lost a game many experts thought should have gone the other way. Georgia (11-1) was shellacked by South Carolina earlier in the season when the Gamecocks were healthier but have rebounded well—even scoring a second straight win over rival Florida which hasn’t happened much in the last two decades. Alabama’s (11-1) one misstep was underestimating what Johnny Football and Texas A&M could do, in falling behind early at home and having the go-ahead touchdown pass picked off in the end zone late in the fourth quarter. Neither of those scenarios are bad losses and no one would rightly judge either team by such a measure.

Georgia is going to try and use their weapons (specifically seasoned quarterback Aaron Murray and freshman RBs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall) to replicate what the one team that beat Alabama did and that’s score early and get the Crimson Tide out of their scheme. The problem with that is it’s only happened one time, and Murray is talented but he’s not the mobile threat that generally gives Nick Saban night sweats. Also, Alabama’s rush defense is tops in the conference. So, to expect Gurley and Marshall to carry the mail a for a lot of success is expecting something that just doesn’t happen. There’s a reason Alabama’s consistently tops in scoring defense and many other defensive categories year in and year out.

On the other hand, Alabama is about as balanced on offense as you can get, averaging 218 yards in the air and 214 on the ground. Those ground numbers are what you want to watch because that’s the Achilles heel of the Georgia defense. It gives up 163 yards on the ground a game and that spells trouble against Alabama.

I expect this to be a close game early but I just don’t think the match-ups favor Georgia over the long haul. If Alabama were somehow not interested in this game, I could see Georgia winning but with the National Championship game against Notre Dame in sight, I expect Alabama to be primed and ready. Georgia is a talented team but for the second year in a row, it is running into a better defensive team from the SEC West.

Defense wins championships, boys and girls.

Alabama 31, Georgia 16

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About J. Newcastle

  • G Foreman

    I would say you just about nailed it from four days out. After everyones collective hearst started beating again and took a breath, You had the Tide part dead on. UGA was a bit more fired up, but the Tides running game was not to be stopped. What a show! Thank you for all you guys do for “THE GAME”.

  • Cody,

    I disagree that Ga. Tech is “high powered” on offense. They run a rarely seen gimmick which Georgia wisely neutralized by scheduling Ga. Southern the week prior.

    Ole Miss had flashes but was anything but elite. Auburn? Total joke.

    The Florida game was a GREAT defensive performance but you cannot ignore how poorly the offense was in that game. Since that game, the offense hasn’t been tested. That’s my point.

    Could Georgia win? Sure. It’s college football and when top teams play each other, there’s always a chance. However, the odds, stats, and my hunches lean me towards Alabama.

    Should be a fun game. Thanks for reading.

  • cody

    Why did uga lose to sc? Because we played flat. My proof is we beat a better #2 ranked Florida team and FORCED 6 turnovers via Jarvis & co. We just got better it happens sometimes. We blew out an ole miss team who almost beat a&m and LSU. When uga got all their defensive players back and finally gelled they became extremely good. The online has improved vastly also. Uga held a high powered tech offense to their lowest score all year long.

    Btw I apologize if I came off as a ahole yesterday.

  • Cody,

    I think Gary Danielson summed it up:

    “We don’t know how real Georgia is,” he said. “They hit a terrible slump in the middle of the season when even their own players called their team out. That seemed to ignite them. They played a very good defensive football game against Florida where their quarterback had a really tough first half and he almost kind of tossed a game away that they should have won pretty easily.

    “But since then, when the rest of the country was playing really tough football games, Georgia has played Ole Miss, Auburn, Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech. They haven’t been tested. So they’re basically coming from the Oct. 27 game into the championship game and we don’t know if they’ve gotten any better or where they stand.”

  • Cody, that “stat” about ppg is impressive but you have to look at the competition. Georgia’s schedule got considerably easier the back half of the season. Florida is the best team they’ve played outside of S.Carolina all year.

    Thanks for reading and enjoy the game.

  • cody

    **Ppg instead of ooh

  • cody

    Do you watch football? Since Williams calling out the defense uga has allowed 8 ooh. And if you watched football instead of looking at stats you would know why it says uga gives up 160 yards a game rushing…….they have played two triple option teams two weeks in a row. No one can stop it you can only contain it. Ask Alabama who gave up over 300 yards rushing to ga southern last year when they had a better defense. Pro style teams don’t run on ga.

  • C2E

    I also enjoy your SEC analysis. Have read it every week for the past 2 years. Good stuff!

  • BlakeMerchant

    I respect your prediction. Using cold, hard fact’s instead of false accusations and stats from both teams past’s. I always appreciate a non-biast oppinion.