For the second straight season, Georgia returns to Mercedes Benz Stadium to
play in the SEC Championship Game. Last year, they got a measure of revenge
by beating Auburn who had beaten them a few weeks earlier for their only
regular season loss.
This time, its a similar scenario. It's Alabama as the SEC West Division
Champion and Georgia again representing the East. And, again, there is a bit
of payback involved. In 2017, UGA went on from the Championship Game to beat
Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl. Bama beat Clemson in the Sugar Bowl. And, in the
National Championship Game played in this same Mercedes Benz Stadium, the
Crimson Tide and Georgia went into overtime with Alabama coming out on top.
So, just like with Auburn last year, the Dawgs will be looking to avenge
an earlier loss to Alabama. And, if you want to take the revenge thing a
step further, the two teams have only met in the SEC Championship Game once
before. In 2012, I saw in the end zone of the Georgia Dome and watched the
then #2 Crimson Tide get a lead and barely hold on as Aaron Murray
drove his team to the five yard line before running out of time in a 32-28
loss. Completely different players and coaching staff. But, the fans
But, according to virtually all of the experts, UGA doesn't stand a
chance. Oddsmakers have them as an early thirteen point underdog. That
is mostly showing respect for a Tide team that has been clearly head and
shoulders above the rest of the field all season. Anyone facing them would
be an underdog. In fact, to be honest, if I were forced to place a bet on
the game, I would probably put the money on Alabama as well. But, I've
watched every snap of the Bulldogs this season. And, except for the one
stumble at LSU, they have completely dominated every opponent, especially in
the five games since that loss.
After the game in Baton Rouge, Georgia beat the then #9 Gators 36-17.
They beat the then #9 ranked Wildcats 34-17. Both games away from Sanford
Stadium. They hosted Auburn and won 27-10, UMass and won 66-27 and destroyed
Georgia Tech 45-21, leading 38-7 at the half before putting it on cruse
That's a combined score of 208-92. And most of the opponent points were
against backups late in the games. So, they've gotten hot at the right time.
Georgia Head Coach Kirby Smart was asked if, after last year's game,
that this matchup was inevitable.
"I don't know that it was inevitable," he said. "Certainly, both of
us had to win some football games to get to it. I think last year's game is
last year's game, and our kids are really focused on playing good football.
That's really all we've worried about for the last five to six weeks, since
the LSU loss, is moving forward and trying to grow as a team to get better,
and that's been our focal point. It really hasn't been all that much about
"I think both teams are good football teams," he said. "That's why
they're representing their divisions in the conference championship, and
both teams continue to get better. Great quarterback play and third down
conversions and protecting the ball and not turning the ball over a lot.
Those are similarities. Both got good set of backs, good set of receivers.
Both teams are scoring points. Biggest difference is they play better
Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban on UGA. "Well, I can speak to
Georgia, just kind of watching them through the year. They have a lot of
really good players, very talented guys that are very well coached. They
play hard. They're very disciplined. They've got great balance on offense.
They can run the ball. They can make explosive plays. The quarterback is
very efficient in the passing game.
"Defensively, they're ranked very highly in all categories in terms of
stopping the run, pass defense. They've got some very explosive guys on
special teams. They're one of the best punt return units. They've got a
great kicker. They've got good specialists. So this all around is just a
really, really good team. We didn't play everybody in their division, and I
don't know those teams as well as maybe sometimes when you're playing
somebody, but they have been a pretty dominant team all season long.