Today’s SEC Championship game is just like any ol’ Saturday.
Even though there’s a conference crown and a trip to the national championship game on the line, Alabama players are treating this game like they’ve treated every other week.
Earlier this week, A.J. McCarron was asked what the key is in big games like this.
“I think that’s what hurt us back last year in the LSU game,” said AJ McCarron. “We tried to make the game bigger than it was. It’s just another game, just another Saturday. Go out and play, do our job, execute plays and let the chips fall where they may.”
Alabama head coach Nick Saban echoed that mindset, in terms of how he wants his players to focus, Friday afternoon when he and Georgia head coach Mark Richt addressed reporters at the Georgia Dome.
“When you become outcome oriented, you get tentative, and you're not aggressive play in and play out,” he said. “I think the most challenging thing we have to do to continue to play with success is focus on what's happening right now.
“Know that when you run for a Gold Medal, you're not really running for the Gold Medal. You're running to run a 19:30, 200 meter race with Michael Johnson or whoever it might be. So that's got to be the focus, run a good race; play a good game. It can't be what's going to happen if we don't.”
No. 2 Alabama (11-1, 7-1 SEC) vs. No. 3 Georgia (11-1, 7-1), 3 p.m. CT, CBS
On the line: For both teams, it’s the same: the SEC Championship and a trip to the National Championship in Miami.
When Alabama has the ball… The Crimson Tide can make explosive plays with their passing game, but will need to establish the run with Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon early. Getting the running game going will not only give Alabama momentum and set a tone, it will keep pass-rushing fiend Jarvis Jones somewhat at bay.
When Georgia has the ball… Aaron Murray has struggled on the big stage—last year’s SEC Championship game against LSU, this year’s matchups against South Carolina and Florida—but he opted out of media obligations to focus on Alabama this week. Like the Crimson Tide, the Bulldogs want to establish their running game comprised of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall early and set the tone their way. But if C.J. Mosley and Co. prevents that from happening, Murray will look out wide to his go-to receiver Tavarress King, who leads Georgia’s receiving corps with eight touchdowns.
Prediction: These teams are so evenly matched—both have pro-style and balanced offences, 3-4 defenses, efficient, effective and experienced quarterbacks, dangerous running back tandems—so whoever plays better in those respective categories is likely going to win.
Georgia may have more NFL talent, but Alabama has more discipline.
Alabama 28, Georgia 21
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