No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide (11-1 SU, 6-6 ATS) vs. No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs (11-1 SU, 6-6 ATS)
College Football Week 14
Date/Time: Saturday December 1st, 2012. 4:00PM Eastern
Where: Georgia Dome Atlanta, G.A.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Ala -7/GA +7
Over/Under Total: 50
All eyes will be focused on the Georgia Dome in Atlanta this Saturday which will play venue to the 2012 SEC Championship Game. As we all know, the SEC has produced the last 6 BCS National Championship winners and the super conference of college football will soon play for their 7th straight crystal ball. This Saturday’s title game features an intriguing match-up between the no. 3 Georgia Bulldogs (11-1 SU, 6-6 ATS) and the no. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide (11-1 SU, 6-6 ATS). Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide is looking to become the first team in the BCS era to win back to back National Championships. However, Mark Richt and the Georgia Bulldogs are looking to steal that opportunity as they make their 2nd straight appearance in the SEC Championship Game.
Georgia has the chance to steal the spotlight from the favored Crimson Tide this week just as they did last year against LSU. The Bulldogs were blown out in last year’s SEC Championship Game 42-10 and Mark Richt’s group feels like they have a shot at redemption this week. Georgia had a rather easy schedule this year in route to their 11-1 SU mark as they dodged the major threats in the SEC West. However the Bulldogs have played extremely well the 2nd half of the season by covering 4 of their last 5 games ATS and outscoring opponents by a combined score of 179-43 during that stretch. Still many would argue that the Bulldogs have yet to play a team that compares physically to Alabama.
On paper the Bulldogs are putting up impressive numbers on both sides of the football. QB Aaron Murray is one of the best pure arms in the conference and has eerie similar characteristics as former Georgia QB Matthew Stafford. Murray has hit 66.6% passing on the year while throwing for 3,201 yards with 30 scores and just 6 interceptions. WR Tavarres King has been a reliable threat in the passing game. Still, the talent that has propelled the Bulldogs this season comes from a pair of youngsters in the backfield. Freshman running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall (nicknames Gurshall) have combined for more than 1,800 yards with 22 touchdowns on the season. Now the big glaring question this Saturday is can those two young guys continue to carry the offense against Alabama’s tremendous defense?
The Crimson Tide defense ranks 2nd against the run giving up just 77 yards and 1st overall giving up 233 total yards per game. Alabama’s defense may not be quite as dominant as last year’s group but they are an extremely talented group nevertheless. In fact, that same Alabama defense has pitched two straight shutouts over West Carolina and last week against Auburn. It will be interesting to see if Alabama’s defensive line can win the battle up front to plug up holes in the run game and get pressure on Aaron Murray. If Georgia’s offensive line fails that test, it could be another long day for Georgia fans.
Offensively, Alabama is not very explosive but extremely physical up front. The Crimson Tide offense loves to pound the football between the tackles and punch defenses right in the mouth. Running backs Eddie Lacy and T.J Yeldon have posted “Gurshall” type numbers this year rushing for more than 1,800 yards with 24 touchdowns. Lacy leads the team with 1,000 yards as the bigger bruising back but Yeldon has the speed to break big plays.
Overall Alabama typically wins the battle up front with their offensive line. Georgia has not been tested against an offensive line such as Alabama this season and it will be telling to see if the Bulldogs talented defense can stop the run. QB A.J McCarron has been solid for Alabama this season hitting 67% passing for 2,502 yards with 25 scores and 2 picks. Say all you want about McCarron’s ability but Alabama wins football games with their defense and running game. Therefore keep your eyes on that Georgia defense to see if they can hold their ground up front. If that happens, perhaps the Bulldogs can pull off the upset.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: In Georgia’s only two games this season against stout defenses, the Bulldogs scored just 24 points combined against South Carolina and Florida. The Bulldogs were actually embarrassed by South Carolina earlier this year not just on the scoreboard but in the trenches. Florida had similar success against the Bulldogs but coughed the ball up 6 times in that game. Alabama is simply better than Georgia and by a wide margin in the trenches. The Crimson Tide will win the battle up front and win this game convincingly. Take Alabama -7!
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