If your Georgia Bulldogs are once again headed to Atlanta with an SEC title on the line and Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide in their path.....
.....then I’d like to propose a thought experiment. And offer a drink. But first the thought experiment.
Close your eyes and, as Larry Munson would invite you to, “get the picture now.” Alabama comes into the game 12-0, surrendering fewer than 7 points per game behind a veteran defense loaded with former five star recruits.
As if that weren’t enough they’re also second in the SEC in scoring offense at 40.7 points per game and churning out 202 yards of offense on the ground per game behind a fifth year senior quarterback who doesn’t make many mistakes with the ball. They’ve also got weapons galore in the passing game, with seven players on the roster tallying double digit receptions on the season. Since a week one neutral site matchup with a top five non-conference opponent no team has come closer to beating them than 17 points, and they haven’t actually trailed in the second half all season. They’re as healthy as they’ve been arguably all season after resting their starters for most of the second half of their last two games.
Georgia on the other hand enters the game at 11-1 with the one defeat an inexplicable division loss to an 8-4 team (Missouri? South Carolina? Who cares?). They just played a four overtime slugfest against their pesky instate rival. In the process they played a ton of snaps and potentially lost their top running back to a leg injury. It wasn’t the first of the season as the Bulldogs have already lost three tailbacks to long term or season ending injuries. And while they have talent, especially at the skill positions, the offensive line doesn’t have great depth and has surrendered more sacks than every team in the SEC except Tennessee and LSU.
No one would expect this Georgia team to win this game. Oh sure, you could come up with a plausible scenario where it happens. But no one is going to read the above and say the Bulldogs are clearly the favorite.
Of course, by now you know that all the above analysis of this SEC Championship Game is pretty accurate with one critical exception: I flipped the names of the two teams. It’s Georgia who enters undefeated, healthy, and having never really been challenged over the preceding eleven weeks. It’s Alabama who in fact looked beatable last week, got beat up in the process, and actually did get beat by a Texas A&M team that we now know was not as good as that Alabama victory made them look for a little while.
Those in the national media have largely said that Georgia is a prohibitive favorite. Vegas has installed the ‘Dawgs as almost a touchdown favorite on a neutral site. As is sometimes the case, the most nagging voices of doubt are coming from inside the Red and Black house. Many of us are having trouble imagining the Bulldogs beating the Tide on Saturday even though every objective indicia says that is the most likely outcome.
Might Georgia lose to Alabama? Sure. The Tide are a dang good football team. But you could have said the same about the Arkansas team that took the Tide to the fourth quarter (Georgia, you may recall beat them 37-0). Or the Tennessee team that was within a touchdown of Alabama until late in the third quarter. It’s possible the Tide find that magic they’ve found so many times before and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat against a Bulldog team left shaking its head and licking its wounds.
But it’s also possible that a Georgia team composed almost completely of players who’ve lost repeatedly to better Bama teams than this one has its Ralphie in a Christmas Story moment, beating the snot out of the SEC’s version of Scott Farkas.
With all those comebacks in the past I expect Georgia, with the horror movie villain down and dazed, to metaphorically pull the trigger in this one until it clicks and then throw the pistol for good measure. There’s a scenario in which Georgia beats Alabama and then just keeps pounding until the folks at the Benz turn off the lights and close the concession stands. A veritable....
Bammer. Jammer. Banana. Hammer.
Thats a great name for a drink. Let’s go with it. Mix together 1 and 1/2 ounces of dark rum, 1⁄2 ounce of light rum, 1⁄2 ounce of banana liqueur, 1 ounce of cinammon syrup (we made some a couple of weeks ago if you’ll recall) and an ounce each of pineapple and orange juice in a cocktail shaker over ice. Strain it into an old fashioned glass with ice and enjoy. It’s mildly festive, decidedly tropical, and may just put you in the mood to put the past behind you. Until later...