The time once again has arrived where we crown the SEC champion in the ATL. This season we get to see the SEC East Champions, the Florida Gators tangle with the SEC West Champions the Alabama Crimson Tide. For anyone that follows the conference closely, Florida and Alabama have dominated this game. This will be the ninth time these two teams face off for the winner of the SEC. You read that correctly, 9th time.
The inaugural game took place back in 1992 and featured, you guessed it, Florida and Alabama, with Alabama taking the crown thanks to Antonio Langham’s pick six outside in Legion Field in Birmingham. The next two seasons, the same match up, with Florida winning both. This will be the Gators 12th time playing in this game, which is a record. Alabama will be playing in it’s 11th. The Gators have won a record 7 titles, where Alabama has won 6. What makes this such a cool contest is that both teams have won four title games head to head. This is the ultimate rubber match.
Let’s now take a few minutes to look at the game that is front of us. Looking at this game on the surface from what we have seen the entire year, there is no doubt that Alabama should win this game and win it handily. The line for this game is still at 24 points, advantage Bama. Obviously Alabama coming in, undefeated, consensus #1 dominated the SEC all year. Florida kind of wasn’t dominant, the SEC East was once again mediocre, and one can argue the Gators won the division by attrition.
Looking at the numbers, and the best place to start is on the defensive end. Alabama is stingy. Allowing an average of 11.4 points per game. It’s anchored by a nasty defensive line that is just brutal against opposing rushers giving up a measly 68.7 yards per game. The entire defense only gives up 246.8 yards per game.
If there is one side of the ball where the Gators may be able to keep this close it’s on the defensive side. Sure they aren’t as stacked as Bama is, but they too have at times been real stingy. The Gators have given up an average of 14.6 points per game, which is impressive as well. Though their run defense isn’t the best, they have one of the best pass defenses in the country, giving up only 158 yards per game in the air. Now that is impressive.
If this game is played in the trenches Alabama should win it, however the Gators will keep it close for three quarters. I expect Bama to win this game 31-10. Now that’s what you call going out on a limb.