Kickoff for the SEC Championship Game is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET on CBS. Alabama has 25 SEC titles with a itch for 26 and Saturday’s contest with their familiar foe Florida looms ahead.
As many as 10 first-round selections in the 2017 National Football League draft could be on display in Atlanta, with the bumper crop headed by Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen and Florida cornerbacks Teez Tabor and Quincy Wilson. Meanwhile, safety Nick Washington (ankle) is “probably not” going to play against the Crimson Tide. Will he pick off Alabama’s Heisman trophy candidate true freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts.
Through 12 games this season, Hurts leads the SEC with a 65.9 completion percentage and has thrown for 2,454 yards and 21 touchdowns with nine interceptions. It’s second in total offense with 479.6 yards per game and rushing offense with 245.92 yards per game. It hasn’t allowed an opponent inside the 10-yard line in November. Bruising back Damien Harris, leads this group with 897 yards and an astounding 7.2 yards per carry average.
That is, until Alabama receiver Calvin Ridley smacked him into the ground. There’s a reason why they’re the No. 1 team in the country. This is a tough one.
This year’s defense has been even tougher to score against, allowing almost 3 points (14.3 to 11.4) and 18 yards (264.67 to 246.75) less per game. In terms of scoring defense, the two teams are close.
You don’t have to go out of your way to score non-offensive TDs.
The Florida defense isn’t backing down, as the Gators have consistently shut down opponents this season.
With matching records of 10-2 SU, the Penn State Nittany Lions and the Wisconsin Badgers clash in the Big Ten Championship Game this Saturday. They will need to perform much better than they did last week against the Seminoles.
Meanwhile, tight end C’yontai Lewis is questionable for Saturday’s game with an ankle injury.
– Saban called Florida quarterback Austin Appelby “a really smart player”. If the Gators just keep this one within two touchdowns they will accomplish something worthwhile – comfortably covering the 24-point spread and rewarding those who believed at least in their ability to avoid embarrassment. Otherwise, Alabama must endure the wait-and-see mode like other hopefuls. RBs Jordan Scarlett (778 yards, 5.1 ypg) and Lamical Perine (394 yards, 4.9 ypg) have emerged as the top two RBs in Florida’s rotation.
The sophomore finished with six catches for 58 yards last weekend. Only have of the teams that beat Alabama converted 50 percent or more and Ole Miss won in 2015 while converting only 4 of 14.
The game was decided in the fourth quarter.
Tabor and fellow cornerback Quincy Wilson shared the stage for this particular interview session. In 2016, the unit is allowing only 133 rushing yards a game (36th). Seven of the 12 teams to beat the Tide committed fewer turnovers and two games were even.
Will Muschamp’s Gators didn’t enjoy the same success, getting double-digit points just six games into his tenure at – eventual national runner-up, naturally – LSU.
On Alabama’s first play from scrimmage a season ago, Crimson Tide quarterback Jake Coker shoveled the ball to running back Kenyan Drake, who dashed toward the sideline.
The first one is still the best one.
Between them, they have been part of 13 of the 22 conference championships played in the doomed dome scheduled to die before its time.
Alabama’s defense maybe one of the best college football defenses ever. And in eight of Alabama’s 12 losses, the Tide ran for less than 150 yards. Either way, it should be enough to cover the 40.5 points. In fact, this defense might be even better.