Georgia’s SEC Championship Meeting With Alabama This Year Takes On Added Importance

For the Georgia Bulldogs, the road to the Southeastern Conference Championship game wasn’t as easy as the won-loss record indicates it was.

The Dawgs looked like they romped through this past regular season, one of five undefeated teams, including Michigan (#2), Washington (#3), Florida State University (#4), and Liberty University (#24). Georgia ranks on top, with twelve regular season games won and done.


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It was a season where injuries (including one to key player Brock Bowers that kept him off the field for a month), an unusually tough schedule that challenged the team in ways they were not in the last two Championship-capped seasons, and new quarterback Carson Beck taking over after two seasons with Stetson Bennett leading the team. Even with these changes and adversities, the Bulldogs continued to add up consecutive wins against tough competition.

In a perfect world, such a record would have guaranteed a team a berth in the national championships.

And yet…

The basis of ESPN’s Heather Dinich‘s question to SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey is this: If Alabama wins this game against Georgia today, Georgia could slip out of the top four and possibly lose its championship berth. Alabama could jump in the rankings but not enough to compete for the title themselves (they rank #8 right now). So a Georgia loss could mean NO representation for the SEC in the National Championship. No Alabama, no Dawgs. And a team with an undefeated record that led the rankings for most of this past season, will likely be playing a ACME Widget Company Bowl series while another team competes for the national CFB title.

So today’s game takes on added importance for Coach Kirby Smart and his team. It’s a known fact that Nick Saban and his team have ways of pulling a rabbit out of a hat even when they are down significantly on the scoreboard late in the game. One Alabama player worth keeping an eye on today is quarterback Jalen Milroe, who has a proven record of making game-changing plays and will be testing Georgia’s defense more than previous playmakers.

And it doesn’t help matters that there’s a question of whether at least two of their star starters will play today. Bowers and Ladd McConkey are recovering from earlier injuries that could affect their availability in today’s important game. McConkey is listed as questionable, Bowers is probable.

As of 11:06 am, ESPN Bet has Georgia as a -4.5 favorite, but Alabama has been gaining among oddsmakers. CBS Sportsline has Georgia at -211 with a -5 spread over Alabama. But that’s Las Vegas, which has little to do with what happens on the field at Mercedes Benz Stadium this afternoon.

Today’s SEC battle at the Benz will be interesting at least. It will definitely be a nail-biter for fans, particularly Dawg fans. If the Bulldogs win today, the team they will face for the national title will likely be the Michigan Wolverines, who are also a tough challenge. But to face them, they have to weather more adversity and get a win from today’s game to do it.  And unlike the last two SEC Championship competitions at the Benz, it really “just means more” this time.

By Brian Allen, founding editor, Sports In The ATL.

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