Happy Friday, everyone. Postseason is upon us, and the semifinals will come much sooner after the SEC Championship Game this season. This year’s game is kind of anticlimactic, as Alabama has effectively clinched a playoff berth while Florida has little path to one, but the Tide will want to nail down the number one seed. Your previews:
Alabama (-17) vs. Florida, 8 p.m. (SEC Championship Game)
Maybe Florida was looking past LSU to this weekend’s matchup with Alabama. But what Florida did against LSU compared to what Alabama did to the Tigers the previous week shouldn’t help to convince you to feel confident taking the Gators here. Alabama will put this one on cruise control before halftime, and it won’t take too long after that for the Gators to appear in the Crimson Tide’s rearview mirror. At the same time, Alabama quarterback Mac Jones could close the door on the competition for the Heisman Trophy (unless his teammate DeVonta Smith has anything to say about it).
Alabama 42, Florida 23
If we look at Alabama this season, the only offense it faced that comes close to Florida’s in terms of style and production is Ole Miss. That Rebels offense put up 647 yards and 48 points against Alabama. Now, I don’t think Florida will match those numbers, but there’s too much talent on the Gators offense to think they won’t find any success. Also, Dan Mullen’s too good at scheming against opponents not to put up points in this spot, so Florida will score. The question is whether or not Florida’s defense gets any stops. If it can manage a few, I’m confident the Gators keep this closer than the number. Alabama 45, Florida 31 | Florida +17.5
Alabama is playing some defense to go along with that O.
Yeah, Florida leads the SEC in sacks, but Bama is second. The run defense is statistically great because everyone has to throw to keep up, but this group is just that good.
There aren’t any killer pick-six mistakes – no offense, Kyle Trask, but just sayin’ – the Tide lead the SEC in turnover margin, and the penalty issue isn’t that big a whoop.
How complete is Alabama? PK Will Reichard has hit all 11 of his field goal attempts.
The Crimson Tide will take this – and the College Football Playoff No. 1 seed.
Alabama 44, Florida 30
Alabama jumps out to a 14-0 lead behind two quick TD passes from Jones, part of a trend where the Crimson Tide outscores opponents 118-27 in the first quarter. Trask settles down, and Florida cuts to a 10-point game at the half. The third quarter is even, but Alabama closes the door in the fourth quarter behind Harris, and Jones adds one more TD pass for the Heisman voters to think about. The Crimson Tide don’t score 50 points, but they lock up the No. 1 seed in the CFP.
Final score: Alabama 44, Florida 24
Perhaps offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian’s biggest concern is Todd Grantham’s aggressive, attacking style that has produced an SEC-leading 31 sacks. His style isn’t always to Mullen’s liking because it leads to giving up big plays. You might even see them get into a good argument or two.
The 8-2 Gators must be tired of hearing how they can’t measure up to 10-0 Alabama. That’s their motivation. That and a league title would sure heal a lot of LSU hurt. With two losses they aren’t going to the College Football Playoff.
Alabama? It’s the all-around better team. It just needs to play like it.
Alabama 48, Florida 27
Early in the season, mainly after the Ole Miss game, I was really worried about Florida. THey were putting up offensive numbers that could rival Alabama’s, and the Tide’s defense looked awful. In the past few weeks, however, there have been some cracks in the Florida offensive line and the Tide’s pass rush has ramped up considerably with the switch to more zone looks on the back end. Alabama has sacked the opposing QB 20 times in the past five games. Meanwhile, LSU was able to get to Kyle Trask four times last weekend. Florida’s run game doesn’t scare anyone, and the defense is spotty at best.
It’s tough to imagine how Florida keeps this one close. The Tide should be able to do just about whatever they want on offense. Florida will score some points, but Alabama has the athletes to get a few stops along the way. I’ll take Alabama 52-27.
Of course, that is just my opinion. Vote and gives us yours in the comments.
What will be the result of the SEC Championship Game?
This poll is closed
Cousin Eddie’s shitter is full, Tide cover 17
Gators are pretty tough, Tide by 10-16
Nail biter, Tide by 1-9
Florida pulls the upset (BANNED)
Dan Mullen may not have meant this the way it was taken, but he said it just the same.
“We’ll think about that on Saturday night after we win,” Mullen said Thursday afternoon. “I think LSU made it when there were only two teams with two losses, if I’m not mistaken. Does that sound about right? It was back in one of those years with the BCS. I thought they had two losses. Maybe I’m off on that one. We’ll worry about winning on Saturday night because that’s all we can control. What happens after that, we’ll see what happens next.”
Admire the confidence I guess, but that’s pretty bold.
Nick Saban had some interesting things to say on his radio show.
— Saban said he doesn’t listen much to the media but he really likes Cecil Hurt of The Tuscaloosa News. He wasn’t aware there was any criticism of using DeVonta Smith on the punt return. (To be fair, I saw more criticism from fans than from reporters). Saban said they can’t be too conservative and worry about injuries when deciding who plays on special teams.
— “My opinion isn’t always correct, it’s just the only one that counts,” Saban said.
“One of the things that I also think this year has kind proven out more than anything thing else is we should have a commissioner for college football — at least for the Power 5 conferences,” he said during his radio show Thursday night. “Because all these conferences made different rules for how we could play the season.
The lack of uniformity did cause some issues this season. There seems to be some momentum toward a divorce from the Group of Five, and a commissioner would likely result from it. Wonder if he has anyone in mind?
Today is a big day for Nick.
Today is Nick and Terry Saban’s 49th wedding anniversary.— Michael Casagrande (@ByCasagrande) December 18, 2020
Congrats to the first couple of Alabama sports.
Last, the Auburn coaching search has turned into an unmitigated disaster.
Was just told by 2 very good sources who have intimate knowledge of the Auburn coaching search that the last 24 hours, & #stopsteele campaign, has blown up a 3-yr plan to undermine Gus Malzahn & get Kevin Steele the job. The man they say is behind it: former trustee Bobby Lowder— Josh Moon (@Josh_Moon) December 17, 2020
Inside the campus, those not on board with the plan tried to stall it, the sources said. They convinced Gogue to name a search committee for the purposes of slowing things down. They didn't expect such a sharp backlash from fans and donors.— Josh Moon (@Josh_Moon) December 17, 2020
Look, maybe it’s true and maybe it isn’t, but we can still take the opportunity to point and laugh. We shall.
That’s about it for today. Have a great weekend.