SEC Championship: Preview and Prediction

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For College Football Fans, Saturday is one of the most exciting days of the year, whether your team is playing or not. Conference Championship Week is oftentimes full of surprises, and there are still a couple of College Football Playoff berths on the line. If TCU and USC win, they will be in, but if one or both fall, chaos will ensue amongst a number of fan bases in hopes of keeping their National Championship dreams alive. However, in the south, all eyes will be on Atlanta, where the most prestigious Conference Championship takes place.

This year’s SEC Championship features two familiar faces. Although, only one of them was expected to be here. LSU has exceeded all preseason expectations, upset Alabama, and earned their right to Atlanta despite losing three games. Brian Kelly‘s first season in the Bayou has been a resounding success, led by Jayden Daniels, who has been one of the best quarterbacks in college football for most of the season.

On the other side, the new powerhouse in college football hopes to keep their dreams of a perfect season alive, something that eluded them last season in this very game, despite the Bulldogs going on to win the National Championship for the first time since 1980. Stetson Bennett has exceeded all expectations as a passer in his final season as Georgia’s signal caller, but this is still a group that’s led by the best defense in College Football and a tremendously effective rushing attack.

These two teams last faced off during the 2018 and 2019 campaigns, with LSU winning both by a combined margin of victory of 23.5 points. However, there’s one major difference — Joe Burrow isn’t walking through the tunnel to help the Tigers this time, and the Dawgs are hungry for revenge as they aim to become just the third team since 1900 to end the season 15-0.

Prediction

As an LSU alum, I would love to write some dream piece about how the Tigers could come up with the perfect game plan to beat Georgia in their home state, capping off an unbelievable season considering the circumstances coming into the year. But the reality is LSU will have to play perfectly just to keep this game within 10 points, and for them to win, Georgia would probably have to turn the ball over five times. It’s that big of a mismatch.

All Kirby Smart has to do is take one look at the tape from LSU’s matchups against Arkansas and Texas A&M to find the blueprint for stopping the Tigers’ offense. The Tigers, especially Jayden Daniels, want to run the ball before looking to pass, and nobody is better at stopping the run than the Bulldogs. If Georgia turns Daniels strictly into a passer, which I don’t think they will have many problems doing given their athletes on the defensive side of the ball, it will be a long day for LSU.

Defensively, LSU has been a mixed bag. Some weeks they look like one of the more formidable units in the country, and others they look below average. I think they have the athletes to give Georgia some trouble. Freshman Harold Perkins Jr. has the ability to make Stetson Bennet’s life hell, but eventually, the Bulldogs should be able to break through with their rushing attack, and I have no idea who on LSU will be able to stop the sensational Brock Bowers.

The only thing the Tigers have working for them is they are playing with house money. Nobody expected them to be here, and it doesn’t really matter if they win or lose. This season is already a success for them, which can sometimes lead to unexpected results. With that being said, Georgia has played their best when the lights are the brightest, and I don’t expect that to change in what is quickly becoming a home away from home at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Final: Georgia 41, LSU 10 

Photo: Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire

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