As you may have heard, the Georgia Bulldogs will be meeting up with the LSU Tigers this Saturday afternoon. Though this confrontation technically has been designated as the SEC Championship Game, the game itself is strictly a formality, a mere precursor to the inevitable coronation that is to follow. We know this because Louisiana State negotiated a much tougher conference slate than Georgia in the significantly superior SEC West.
That, at any rate, is what we have been told. The facts, though, are these, offered as the first installment of a special multi-part SEC Championship Game edition of Too Much Information:
The Bulldogs are 7-1 in conference play. The Bayou Bengals are 8-0 in conference play.
Six of Georgia’s eight league games were against the Auburn Tigers, Florida Gators, Kentucky Wildcats, Mississippi Rebels, Mississippi St. Bulldogs, and Tennessee Volunteers, against whom the Red and Black were 6-0. Six of Louisiana State’s eight league games were against those same six teams, against whom the Tigers were 6-0.
Among the SEC opponents Georgia and LSU do not have in common, the Alabama Crimson Tide were the tougher of the two the Bayou Bengals faced and the South Carolina Gamecocks were the tougher of the two the Bulldogs faced. Louisiana State generally was outplayed by the Tide on the road, yet the Tigers won by three. Georgia generally outplayed the Gamecocks at home, yet the ‘Dawgs lost by three. Improbable oddities unlikely to be duplicated typified both contests, each of which easily could’ve gone the other way without anyone conscientiously being able to claim that the weaker performer won; change any one of several pivotal plays in each game, and it could be Georgia sporting the 8-0 league ledger.
Among the SEC opponents Georgia and LSU do not have in common, the Arkansas Razorbacks were the weaker of the two the Bayou Bengals faced and the Vanderbilt Commodores were the weaker of the two the Bulldogs faced. On paper, the Hogs were a lot better than the ‘Dores . . . but, on the field on October 29, Arkansas was only three points better than Vandy, so what appeared on paper may not have been altogether accurate.
Accordingly, in SEC play, Georgia and Louisiana State each faced eight teams, three-fourths of whom were identical, and against whom the Bulldogs and the Tigers attained identical records; Georgia lost by three points to its toughest conference competitor in a game the Bulldogs probably should have won, while LSU won by three points over its toughest conference competitor in a game the Tigers probably should have lost; Georgia’s and LSU’s remaining league games were against teams who played one another within a field goal.
In conference games only against those exceedingly comparable SEC schedules, LSU finished the regular season ranked second in the league in total defense, and Georgia finished ranked third. Likewise, through eight conference games apiece, the Bulldogs ranked second in the SEC in total offense, while the Tigers ranked fourth.
I’m just sayin’.