The powers that be in college football would have you believe that their playoffs consist of four teams selected by a committee in a secret room. I’m not buying that. We could argue the college football playoffs have been going on from the moment the season started. Every loss could potentially knock you out of contention, and a losing streak would all but guarantee that. The SEC has seen its share of upsets and dominating play all season. With one more game left a lot is still up in the air throughout the entire country.
SEC Title Game:
Auburn Tigers (10-2) versus Georgia Bulldogs (11-1)
Live from Mercedes-Benz Stadium, it’s the revenge of the Bulldogs. Well, maybe not that epic but there’s definitely a score that UGA wants to settle, namely a 40-17 drubbing at the hands of Auburn back on November 11th has left a bad taste in their mouth. It also ended their hopes for a playoff bid. In that game, Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson finished with 233 yards of total offense. On the season, the Bulldogs allow only 271.9 yards of total offense per game. The Tigers simply manhandled them on both sides of the ball. Not only by opening holes for Johnson, but stifling the vaunted Bulldogs’ rushing attack. The Bulldogs were held to46 yards rushing and only 13 first downs in the first meeting.
This time around Johnson is hobbled with a bum shoulder but is still expected to play. In any event, the Bulldogs will need to play more physical at the line of scrimmage. They need to find a way to inflict their will against the Tigers. They led the SEC with 265.7 rush yards per game. Georgia will need to establish that part of their offense early. Where the Bulldogs can hurt the Tigers is through the air. Head coach Kirby Smart and quarterback Jake Fromm will have to dial up some pass plays to keep Auburn off guard. Some early shots down the field should keep the Tigers on their heels.
If Johnson is playing, the Tigers will undoubtedly use him early and often. The truth is Auburn used a pretty balanced attack to defeat Georgia the first time, so why change? If the success at the line of scrimmage continues, look for Tigers’ quarterback Jarrett Stidham to get some open looks in the passing game. Georgia will try to be physical and stop the run first, leaving openings in their defense to complete a few passes. The game plan should be balance, so the Bulldogs can’t key into any one aspect of the offense.
The stage is set for one of these teams to bolster their argument for a playoff bid. If Georgia wins they should be in the playoffs. If Auburn wins they will need a little bit of help to accomplish that. The win today will still be for a Conference title, with both teams looking to play another big game after that. Let the playoffs begin.