Last season Alabama weren’t in the SEC Championship game but still made it to BCS national championship. This year, they represent the SEC West, facing Georgia, making their second consecutive appearance in a game that will decide who gets to face Notre Dame for the big prize in College Football, 2012 edition.
The funny thing about that matchup is that the loser, will probably be shut out of a BCS Bowl. That’s is how voting works in the world of College Football, and especially in the tough competition in the SEC. Florida are a one-loss team as well, it just came in the wrong time to the wrong team. Still, the Gators are likely to advance and grab a place in a BCS Bowl, the winner of the conference championship game advance to the BCS title match while the loser falls out of the BCS equation.
But who will it be? Gut feeling says Alabama. The Crimson Tide messed up their perfect season in the loss to A&M, a shocking home loss on November 10, 24-29. Georgia’s loss came a long time ago, a 35-7 beatdown against South Carolina, but have since won six games in a row, only one of them (vs Florida) against a ranked opponent. It was enough to put them through.
Looking at the two teams, you just see too many advantages for Alabama. At quarterback, A.J. McCarron, already a winner of a national title, has proven more than once he can play under the spotlight. His numbers aren’t as good as Aaron Murray’s, but he simply doesn’t make mistakes, throwing only two interceptions this season (25 touchdowns), compared with Murray’s 7. This takes us to the running game, on which both teams heavily rely.
Todd Gurley is probably the biggest freshman name to appear this season in the SEC, running for 1138 yards on 176 carries, scoring 14 touchdowns. Keith Marshall has been very impressive as well with 720 yards on 107 carries, scoring 8 touchdowns. Georgia average 190.1 yards per game. Not enough to beat Alabama, with 214.2 rushing yards per game, mostly through T.J. Yeldon and Eddie Lacy.
Defense? Georgia have better individual talent on D, led by Jarvis Jones. Is it enough to stop the Tide? It might be, but even though Alabama have been exposed as a less than perfect defensive team in recent weeks, they’re still number one in the nation. Georgia will be looking to exploit that secondary, which is the weak spot in Saban’s plans.
Prediction – In order for Georgia to win, Aaron Murray needs something close to a perfect game. Problem? He completed just 41.8 percent of his throws with one touchdown and four interceptions in Georgia’s games against South Carolina and Florida. Good defenses, plus the fact that Georgia struggle with pass protection, make Murray look ordinary and less. The Tide aren’t as good as we thought they were six weeks ago, but they’re better than Georgia.