This will be the
second straight week that Georgia plays in its new home away from
home, Atlanta. They beat Georgia Tech last Saturday at Bobby Dodd
Stadium 38-7. And, if things go according to plan, the Bulldogs will
be back in January, again in the Mercedes Benz Stadium to play for
the National Championship. It that doesn't pan out, they still are
predicted by some to face UCF in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl in the
But, first things first. There is a score to settle against the only team
that has beaten them in 2017, Auburn. Just three weeks earlier, the
Bulldogs were manhandled by the Tigers 40-17 at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
At the time, UGA was undefeated and ranked #1 in the nation but
dropped to #7 after the embarrassing loss. Saturday, Auburn again
knocked off the #1 team in the country. This time, it was undefeated
Alabama 26-14 in the 82nd edition of the Iron Bowl. Auburn is the
1st team to win 2 games against the No. 1 team in
Playoff rankings in the same season. Baylor transfer Jarrett Stidham (21 of
28 passing) became just the third quarterback to complete at least
75 percent of his passes against a Nick Saban-coached Alabama
The SEC announced that Auburn will be fined $250k for fans rushing
the field after the Tigers' victory.
This Saturday's SEC championship game will feature a regular-season
rematch for the seventh time in conference history. Auburn has won
two out of the three times it faced a team it played earlier in the
year. A big factor in the Tigers' success has been running back
Kerryon Johnson, who rushed for 104 yards and a touchdown
against Alabama and 167 yards against Georgia.
Johnson's status for Saturday's SEC Championship Game against
Georgia is unknown, coach Gus Malzahn said after the Tigers'
win over the the Crimson Tide.
"He's got a shoulder issue," Malzahn said. "We'll see where he's
at." Sophomore ball-carrier Kam Martin would play in his
place if he's unable to continue.
UGA has a pretty good running game of their own with a one-two punch of
senior Sony Michel, who has rushed for 903 yards and 13
touchdowns this season and senior Nick Chubb with 1098 yards
and also 13 TDs in 2017.
Auburn's only two losses this season were on the road, 14-6 on September
9 at Clemson and 27-23 on October 14 at LSU.
This is the first time either Auburn or Georgia has played in the new
Mercedes Benz Stadium. It will be the first time these two teams have met in the SEC
Championship Game, but it is the sixth time in the big game for
each. But the two teams have met 121 times before in what's called
the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry. The two teams first played each
other in 1892 and have met nearly every year since.
Both teams rose in the CFP rankings Tuesday night. With former #1 Alabama and #2 Miami both going down to defeat, UGA moved up to #6 while Auburn
made it to #2. The winner of #1 Clemson & #7 Miami in the ACC Championship
Game should have a place, even though both had embarrassing losses to
unranked teams in Syracuse and Pitt. But, a #1 ranking for Clemson
guarantees them a spot with a win. Miami...probably.
The winner the Big 10 Championship might depending on who wins. If
#5 Wisconsin, who is undefeated, wins, they should be in. If Ohio State
wins, then the question is do you take a Big 10 Champion with two losses
over a Crimson Tide team, who's only loss was to Auburn. I think Alabama
would squeeze in in that scenario, especially since the Buckeyes pair of
losses were pretty bad. Oklahoma State will be in if they can beat TCU in
the Big 12 Championship.
That leaves the SEC Championship. Clearly, Auburn at #2 would be in with
a victory. But, will Georgia jump two spots into the top 4. By beating the
current #2 team and having just one win, that seems a given.