2021 SEC Football Pick of the Week: SEC Championship Game
I love rivalry week.
I’m so glad it’s associated with the Thanksgiving holiday as well. It’s just so fitting. I’m so glad it’s back. Thanks, Covid.
What an Iron Bowl. What a Sunshine Showdown (or whatever they insist on trying to call it). Man, what a weekend.
We had two picks this past Saturday. The Iron Bowl between Alabama and Auburn and the Governor’s Cup between Kentucky and Louisville.
The Iron Bowl was a loss, despite Alabama winning it 24-22 in four overtimes. Fun fact: it was the first overtime game in Iron Bowl history.
As for the Governor’s Cup, well, it was a massive, massive victory. Kentucky dominated from the start and won 52-21 going away.
Splitting those two games brings us to a 10-5 record at the end of the regular season with just one more game left to pick. We’re also 63-44 since 2015, so if you’ve been with us for a while you should have made some decent money.
That final pick is of course the SEC Championship Game between Alabama and Georgia. Alabama is designated as the home team due to it being an “odd numbered” year.
So let’s get to it.
Championship Game Pick: No. 1 Georgia (-6.5)) vs. No. 3 Alabama, 4:00pm ET on CBS.
It’s too bad that Alabama isn’t peak Alabama, but what can you do?
Oh well. We’ll try it like this.
It’s basically a contrast of styles. Alabama is built on offense and Georgia is built on defense. I could go on and on with all the old cliches about offense puts fans in the stands, offense gets you to the show, defense wins championships, etc., but what’s the point.
To beat Alabama you can’t be afraid. You’ve got to just try and land haymaker and hope a few of them land. In the past, Kirby Smart and Georgia have been scared. They’ve had leads on Alabama twice, late, and lost both times.
But this time it’s different. Alabama knows it must win to make the playoffs while Georgia can afford a loss. Very few times has someone had Nick Saban by the throat and been able to finish the job.
The list is short: Urban Meyer at Florida (once) and Gus Malzahn at Auburn (twice). You could throw Hugh Freeze at Ole Miss and Jimbo Fisher at Texas A&M in there if you’re feeling frisky but those might be a stretch at this point.
My point is that if you’ve got a chance to knock Alabama out, you’ve got to do it.
Thus far Kirby Smart is 0-2.
He’s about to make it 1-2.
This is the the year of the ‘Dawgs.
While it’s been a down year for the college football powers overall, there has been one constant: the Georgia defense.
Former Bulldog head coach Jim Donnan said last year that the Georgia defense will be stronger than three rows of onions. He was a year off.
This year they are ranked first in multiple statistical categories and are showing no signs of slowing down. I don’t think that the Crimson Tide offense, which is a little banged up, will be able to keep pace.
On the flip side, the Georgia offense is just good enough. Stetson Bennett has proven that he can captain the ship, leaving much-heralded transfer quarterback JT Dainels on the bench.
Bennett and Co. have their eyes on bigger prizes though. They are three games away from realizing them.
This is game one.
And they win it.
Trending up: Arkansas.
Look out, the Razorbacks are coming!
Head coach Sam Pittman is building something special in Fayetteville. I don’t know how far or high he’ll go, but it definitely seems like eight wins will be the floor going forward.
You can win at Arkansas. There’s an incredible amount of talent in the state (hello, Little Rock). And along with the Memphis area, you can easily recruit into Louisiana and Texas.
It’s going to be a fun four-way battle the next few years between Alabama, Arkansas, LSU and Texas A&M.
Trending up II: Greg Knox.
In some respects it’s a shame. In others though, it’s well, just sad. What could have been for the 2021 Florida Gators.
But this is about interim head coach Greg Knox. To go from coaching running backs to being the interim head man of a team that had clearly given up on its former head coach and to get the result he did was impressive.
It’s too bad Knox’s tenure at Florida has been on life support the last year and a half. He’s not the best recruiter and that has damaged his reputation for many in Gainesville. But he’s a good coach and a good man. He even got a Gatorade shower.
I sincerely hope that he doesn’t hitch his wagon to Dan Mullen in the future.
Trending down: Head coaches.
Beginning in 2022, 10 of the 14 coaches in the SEC will have been at their current school for two years or less.
(Note: This was written Sunday night/Monday morning, so Lane Kiffin’s status was factored as head coach of Ole Miss.)
That’s a lot of turnover. It just goes to show you that immediate results are expected and that you’ve got at best three or four years to show somebody something.
Not everyone is Nick Saban. Or even a lucky Jimbo Fisher. Ed Orgeron was fired two years after winning a national title. Dan Mullen was let go a a year after his third straight New Year’s Six bowl.
As they say, just win baby.
Trending down II: Bill O’Brien.
For the second week in a row the offensive coordinator of Alabama lands in this category, albeit for a different reason this time.
I get that the Crimson Tide had numerous injuries and from the start this is probably the least talented Alabama team in a decade, but still…
10 points at the end of regulation? That’s all you could muster? Some of the play calls he sent, whew.