This article was originially posted HEREEpic. You can’t begin a preview of today’s SEC Championship Game with any other word. I’ve been calling it the National Championship all week. Alabama used last season’s 4th-quarter no-show to fuel their motivation for this entire season. Florida has maintained it’s focus to FINISH THE MISSION.
It’s the nation’s two best defenses and two best head coaches, and the two best teams.
Let’s do this.
I want to get a bunch of “expert’s” picks and previews out on the table first. Accuscore (account needed) says Florida wins 61.1% of the time, by an average score of 24.6 – 20.9. Here’s a preview by CBS, and their columnists are split: Dennis Dodd says Alabama , Mike Freeman says Florida . In fact, 3 of 4 CBS experts have picked Alabama here. SI’s Stewart Mandel picked Florida 16-13 . Solid Verbal’s Ty Hildenbrandt and Dan Rubenstein each picked Florida on their podcast this week. ESPN’s SEC blogger Chris Low picks Alabama 24-17 . Not surprisingly, 6 of 9 staff members at Tuscaloosa News picked Alabama . More surprisingly, one guy predicts we score 8 points- setting an SEC record with 4 safeties. The Gainesville Sun’s Pat Dooley picked Florida 24-23 . Scouts, Inc. picks the Gators 27-24 . Pat Forde picks Florida 20-14 .
Additionally, much has been written about the matchups in this game. ESPN’s Ivan Maisel polled 4 coaches who have lost tot both teams, and came up with the startling revelation that Tim Tebow is the difference in this game. The coaching rivalry was covered in a historical context by our friend Sam Negus at the Prolate Spheroid blog, and we ran the piece on our site here . ESPN’s Chris Low took a numbers-based approach to the coaching rivalry. And has a “Did You Know” for the game. And points out his 5 key matchups . Here are the five keys to the game, from Football Outsiders . Mel Kiper, Jr. (and his beautiful hair) points out five one-on-one matchups with NFL Draft implications (ESPN Insider, subscription required). ESPN’s Chad Millman takes a look from a gambler’s perspective at the SEC Championship Game. So what do I think? The above survey pointed out lots of key matchups. I’ll attack these one at a time.