The SEC was established in 1932 by 13 charter members. The University of Georgia and the University of Alabama were among the 13 original members and the 10 charter members that stayed. However, the SEC Championship game didn't come into existence until 1992.
The SEC was the first conference in the NCAA to hold a championship game. The trend caught on and all major conferences eventually would instate a conference championship game.
Since 1992, Alabama has appeared in a previous SEC Championship game 7 times, second to only Florida (10). Georgia has appeared 4. But neither team has ever met each other in the marquee game of the South Eastern Conference.
I used to have a saying at the SEC Championship game: It should be called the National Championship. Of course, last year, with the first all conference National Championship game, that somewhat went out the window. However, with the Irish finding their way from the 1980's back to relevance, the motto has returned. Let's face it, the Irish aren't even in the same wheel-house as SEC talent.
Last year, I would have said this game is pointless. Alabama would have crushed the Dawgs. This season is different. So let's examine not who will win, but what factors will contribute to the winning team.
1. Bulldawgs mistakes. If the Bulldawgs play the same way they played Florida, go ahead and be ready for the back-to-back National Championship run of the Tide. As the season has wore on, the Dawgs have become more controlled, but nobody can get into your pshyce like a Nick Saban team.
2. Pace of Play. If Georgia can stike first and fast, Alabama is in trouble. They have built their program on strength and depth. It makes for a tough second-half team, but if they spend that time on the big comeback, it becomes difficult for the Tide. Not to say this is going to result in a Bama loss, but it will give Georgia the advantage.
3. Who wants it more. Saban has done a great job instilling a sense of "last year was good, but it's gone." But even if you're Super-Saban, players are players. The fact is, these squads are much more evenly matched than last year's LSU-Georgia squads. This is going to be the eptimy of SEC football. Lots of running, lots of defense and a ton of fun for us old school fans. Athleticism is already there, so sheer will power is going to mean a lot.
4. Special Teams. This is going to be a game where an early feild goal could mean the difference in the fouth quarter. Both teams have a solid kicking game. It's up to the offense to set its kickers up for success. And punt returns mean a lot to the psyche of the team taking the field. Keep an eye on special teams during this game.
5. Luck. It is said that men make their own luck. This is just plain false in the game of football. Sometimes it truly is better to be lucky than good. Who ever catches the big breaks early will be the team to take this one home.
Keep your eye on the prize and get ready for the big day all SEC fans can gather around and cheer. Good football and good friends. I will be underway on a mighty war ship and watching along with you.
Until next time,
GO BIG ORANGE (284 days and counting)