Alabama and Georgia. Neither has a resumé that compares well with Florida, but both won their divisions and will compete for the conference title and a spot in Miami. Dropping a game is no big deal, if you play in the SEC.
Georgia on Offense: The Dawgs have the nation’s No. 4 yards per play offense, but it looked far more pedestrian against South Carolina (3.34 yards per play) and Florida (4.63 yards per play). Georgia has not gotten rolling on the ground since the Tennessee game in September. It’s hard to see them doing so against the nation’s best run defense. Only two opponents this season have run for triple digits against Alabama. Texas A&M was the only team to average more than three yards per carry.
That puts the game in Aaron Murray’s hands. On aggregate, he’s a borderline Heisman candidate and a potential first-round draft pick. Against South Carolina and Florida, though, he was awful, completing less than 50 percent of his passes and throwing four interceptions to one touchdown.
Alabama on Offense: Alabama has been almost as proficient as Georgia, ranking No. 6 in yards per play offense, and much more consistent. A.J. McCarron ranks second nationally in passer rating. His only real “bad” game this season was at LSU. The running game has been solid every time out as well, with Yeldon and Lacy combining for about 1,848 yards and 24 touchdowns. The real question is which Georgia defense shows up.
The Dawgs have as much NFL talent as anyone, arguably more than Alabama. It has not shown up in their performances this season. Will we see the run defense that stiffened up allowing just 178 yards and zero touchdowns against Florida, Ole Miss and Auburn? Or, the one that conceded 600 yards the past two weeks against option teams and got run over by South Carolina and Kentucky? The key may be turnovers. They created six against Florida, with Jarvis Jones menacing the Gator backfield. Georgia needs that sort of effort again to pull off an upset.
History: These teams have met twice since Saban arrived in Alabama, splitting the two games. They have not met since 2008. Saban is 3-2 all-time against Richt, including the two wins in 2003 that propelled LSU to the BCS Title.
Reading: Both teams employ a 3-4 defense. A look back at the Alabama-Georgia rivalry. Georgia is trying to atone for last year’s debacle. Georgia hopes to get over the hump for the first time since 1980.
[Photo via Presswire]