Saturday, December 1, 2012
Welcome to Atlanta
By Edward Aschoff
ATLANTA -- Greetings from the Georgia Dome.
Well, we are back in the hub of the South with the national championship on the line. Stop me if you've heard that one before.
Yes, with No. 2 Alabama (11-1, 7-1 SEC) taking on No. 3 Georgia (11-1, 7-1) inside the Dome, the SEC championship game has yet again become a semifinal for the national championship.
Today's winner is headed to South Beach for the Discover BCS National Championship to face No. 1 Notre Dame. Only a couple of weeks ago, we were all sitting around wondering if the SEC would get shut out of the national title game and the six-year title streak would end.
Well, after today, the SEC will be returning to the big game.
The team that makes it to Miami will be pretty beat up on the ride back home because someone is going to get popped out there today, as two of the most physical teams in the country will be cracking skulls down on the field.
Alabama brings in the nation's No. 1 defense, while Georgia's defense has returned to elite status after a tremendous November. Those "soft" comments by Shawn Williams before the Florida game really lit a fire under Georgia's defense. In their past three SEC games, the Bulldogs have allowed an average of just 59 rushing yards and just 1.9 yards per carry.
Alabama's defense has shown some flaws in its pass defense against LSU and Texas A&M. That game against A&M really showed the country that Alabama's defense isn't quite what it was last year, as the Aggies gashed that unit through the air and on the ground in the Tide's lone loss of the season.
But none of that matters now. This is a new day and a new game. The national championship is on the line. Alabama might not have been here last year, unlike Georgia, but this team is more than ready for the big-game atmosphere, while Georgia is certainly not the wide-eyed team we saw in the Dome last year.