This was the SEC Championship game that everyone wanted. The two best teams in the SEC going head to head for the right to go play Notre Dame in the BCS Championship game. Both Alabama (BCS No.2) and Georgia (BCS No.3) left it all out on the field, and gave the fans a game for the ages.
Alabama did what Alabama does best. They controlled the line of scrimmage to run the ball with unbelievable effectiveness and played punishing, tough as nails defense.
Georgia did what Georgia does best. They passed the ball efficiently to set up a strong running game, and were opportunistic and hard-nosed on defense and special teams.
The bottom line is, Alabama’s best was just a little better than Georgia’s, as proven by the 32-28 Crimson Tide victory.
Outside of a non-call on a cheap helmet-to-helmet hit against Georgia QB Aaron Murray, the officiating had little to do with the outcome of the game.
The Georgia players have nothing to hang their heads about. The Bulldogs played their hearts out, and fought to the very end of the game. The Georgia coaching staff…well, that’s a different story.
Georgia took Alabama the distance, and traded blows with a team that was supposedly going to land an early knockout punch. Alabama won the game in the trenches (as expected), but Georgia won the battle of the skill players (as expected). This isn’t on the players. The Bulldogs simply got out-coached.
Questionable play calling and clock management may have been the downfall of the Bulldogs, and what gave the Crimson Tide just the window of opportunity they needed to win the game. Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo once again proved that in crunch time, he folds into a conservative fetal position offensively.
The 3rd-and-1 call of a smash play into the teeth of the ‘Bama defense on Georgia’s next to last possession had my scratching my head. But the decision to run a play as the clock ticked below 10 seconds rather than spike the ball to stop the clock and get set up for possibly two plays into the endzone had my pounding my head against every blunt object I could find.
When the Bulldogs have recovered from the anguish of coming less than a few yards from reaching that national championship game, they’ll be able to watch the tapes of this game, and realize that it was just two great teams that produced one of the best SEC Championship games ever played.
Alabama will now most likely represent the SEC in the national championship game, and try to bring the conference that the rest of the country loves to hate it’s seventh consecutive national title.
While Georgia, despite being essentially a “semi-finalist” for the national title game, will now be relegated to a non-BCS bowl–most likely the Cotton Bowl–while teams with losing records or that come from insignificant conferences will be placed in BCS bowls.
Isn’t the BCS system great?….for just one more year.