The most important Alabama player in Saturday's SEC Championship Game? You could make a case for Crimson Tide tight end Michael Williams, who mostly goes unnoticed by the crowd even though he stands 6-foot-6. Because he blocks so well, the senior has started for three straight years and played a lot off the bench as a freshman. The fact that he has 19 catches and three touchdowns this season is kind of a huge bonus.
"When I see the defense, I see every linebacker staring at me, and they're waiting to tackle me," Williams said. "Obviously, I know I'm not going to get the ball, but I know it helps as a big diversion for Eddie and T.J. back there. It's good to help out on that side of the ball."
The Alabama Crimson Tide dismantled rival Auburn 49-0 on Saturday to clinch the Western Division crown and set up an SEC Championship Game with the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday in the Georgia Dome. This will be the third time the Alabama Crimson Tide have played in the SEC Championship Game under Nick Saban, and for the third time, it will serve as a play-in game for the National Championship. In 2008, the undefeated Crimson Tide faced off with one-loss Florida with a spot in the National Championship Game on the line. Alabama came up short, but got their revenge the next season in Atlanta against the Gators, when both teams entered the game sporting perfect 12-0 records. Now, it is 11-1 Alabama against 11-1 Georgia, with the winner advancing to Miami to take on undefeated Notre Dame for the National Championship.
The key is the first quarter. If Georgia can get out to a quick start, they can hold the lead or at the very least, stay in the game until the end. Remember what Texas A&M did in the Tide's only loss this season? They jumped to a 20-0 lead, and although Alabama might have been the better team that day, the early advantage proved to be insurmountable. To do that, UGA needs quarterback Aaron Murray to be hitting on all cylinders from the opening drive. He's known for his struggles in big games, but a quick start could give him the confidence he needs to carry through the entire game.
It hasn't been storybook, but that's because those don't exist. There have been setbacks and challenges, because there always are. A top recruit in that 2011 class, Isaiah Crowell wound up arrested on weapons charges and bounced from the program. Everyone just assumed it was another Georgia discipline problem. Richt shrugs that off and says public issues are the price of discipline. "Some people might say, 'He's losing control of the program because all these guys are suspended,'" Richt said. "And I'm saying, 'No, it's 100 percent the opposite.' We maintain control of the program by disciplining our players." If you're consistent, you can survive anything, he believes. If not, "it might work in the short term, for that game or a season, but in the long run you're going to have problems," Richt said. "[Your players] are going to quit on you. They are going to think you are a fraud."
On this week's Alabama Football Podcast, sports producer Matt Scalici and blogger Todd Jones break down the SEC Championship Game matchups while Tide fan Hunter Johnson tells us why he hates the Georgia Bulldogs.
I believe someone supposedly very wise once said just a week ago that they remember what you do in November. Well, I'm sure Chris will remember exactly what I did this November. And it wasn't pretty if you weren't on Team Edward.
For the first time ever, Alabama and Georgia will meet in the SEC championship game on Saturday in the Georgia Dome. Hereís a look at what to watch in a contest thatís a play-in game for a berth in the Discover BCS National Championship Game:
Gary Danielson is about as good an in-game analyst as youíll find in college football. Todd Blackledge is good. Kirk Herbstreit is good. Danielson is good. So when he speaks, we turn our ears ó or in this case our eyes ó in his direction.This week Danielson took part in pre-SEC Championship Game teleconference and you can find the whole Q&A right here at the SECís official site. But hereís what caught our attention: