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Your SEC Championship Game Preview

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The SEC was the first conference to have a championship game (EARLY ADOPTER NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP ROLL TIDE!). It's usually a pretty dramatic affair, but this year's edition doesn't really have a ton of intrigue. Regardless of the winner, the BCS title game matchup is already set, and the only team with anything on the line is Georgia. But no, the BCS is working just fine. Anyway, onward!

Who's Playing?
(1) LSU Tigers 12-0 (8-0) vs. (12) Georgia Bulldogs (10-2) (7-1)

What's at Stake?
Outside of the prestige of an SEC conference title, very little. Even if they lose, LSU will probably still make the BCS Championship Game. The biggest consequence to this game is that if Georgia doesn't win, they won't be going to a BCS bowl. If the Bulldogs can pull off the upset, they're headed to the Sugar Bowl.

Where is it?
The Jawja Dome, Atlanta, GA, USA.

When is it?
Saturday, December 3rd at 4 pm on CBS.

How They Got Here:
LSU

Sept. 3 - W vs (3) Oregon 40-27 (in Dallas, TX)
Sept. 10 - W vs. Northwestern St. 49-3
Sept. 15 - W @ (25) Mississippi St. 19-6
Sept. 24 - W @ (16) West Virginia 47-21
Oct. 1 - W vs. Kentucky 35-7
Oct. 8 - W vs. (17) Florida 41-11
Oct. 15 - W. @ Tennessee 38-7
Oct. 22 - W vs. (19) Auburn 45-10
Nov. 5 - W @ (2) Alabama 9-6
Nov. 12 - W vs. Western Kentucky 42-9
Nov. 19 - W @ Mississippi 52-3
Nov. 25 - W vs. (3) Arkansas 41-17

LSU came into the season with lofty expectations, and they have delivered the goods. Even an ugly incident that got Jordan Jefferson suspended didn't derail their season. The Tigers remind me of a boa constrictor in that once they get a firm hold on a team, the more they struggle and fight, the worse it gets. The numbers bear that out on defense, as LSU is ranked 2nd in the nation in scoring and total defense, as well as 4th in rush defense and 6th in passing defense. The secondary will need to be on their toes against the Georgia offense, but between Tyrann Mathieu, Morris Claiborne and Eric Reid, LSU has three of the better defensive backs in the country. The offense is unspectacular, but it is intelligently called and dependable. WR Rueben Randle is one of the best receivers in the country, and almost criminally underused.

UGA

Sept. 3 - L vs. (5) Boise St. 35-21 (in Atlanta, GA)
Sept. 10 - L vs. (12) South Carolina 45-42
Sept. 17 - W vs. Coastal Carolina 59-0
Sept. 24 - W @ Mississippi 27-13
Oct. 1 - W vs. Mississippi St. 24-10
Oct. 8 - W @ Tennessee 20-12
Oct. 15 - W @ Vanderbilt 33-28
Oct. 29 - W vs. Florida 24-20 (in Jacksonville, FL)
Nov. 5 - W vs. New Mexico St. 63-16
Nov. 12 - W. vs. (24) Auburn 45-7
Nov. 19 - W vs. Kentucky 19-10
Nov. 26 - W @ (25) Georgia Tech 31-17

Georgia started out the season by digging themselves a really deep hole, and spent the rest of the year digging themselves out. While most of the attention traditionally goes to the offense though, it was the defense that carried the Dawgs through this year. They finished the regular season ranked 5th in the nation in total defense, 6th in rush defense, 10th in scoring defense, and 11th in pass defense. It seems safe to say that there was a significant step forward in second year of Todd Grantham's 3-4 scheme. Offensively, UGA battled through injury and suspensions, but are still guided by arguably the best quarterback in the SEC in Aaron Murray.

So Who's Going to Win?
LSU. The Dawgs are a very nice team that's rebounded from a disastrous start, but they don't have the horses to compete for 60 minutes with LSU. They may get a good punch or two in at the beginning of the game, but as we've seen, that doesn't phase the Tigers.

Prediction

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LSU 34 - UGA 17

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