Game Preview: SEC Football Championship
Host Jeremy Ganes and analysts Caleb Schweiger and Josh Portney take an inside look at each of the biggest conference championship games in college football this weekend.
As we conclude an exciting season of college football, the best weekend of the year for sports fans is finally upon us. The top teams in each of the major conferences will meet for their respective conference championship games.
Emerging from the SEC, which many consider to be the most competitive college football conference in the country, are No. 2 LSU and No. 4 Georgia. The two powerhouses are set to meet this Saturday in Atlanta in a matchup that will have huge implications for the College Football Playoff.
LSU finds itself as the favorite thanks to its prolific offense, which has steamrolled its way to an undefeated 12-0 record in 2019. Leading the charge for the Tigers is redshirt senior quarterback Joe Burrow, who has emerged as an overwhelming frontrunner to win the Heisman Trophy as the nation’s most outstanding player.
Burrow has thrown for 4,366 yards and 44 touchdowns with just six interceptions throughout a sensational 2019 campaign. The Ohio native has been the focal point of one of the nation’s top offenses, as LSU’s astonishing 560.5 offensive yards per game is the second highest in all of the NCAA.
It’s only fitting that an impressive offense such as that of LSU is matched up against Georgia, which boasts one of the most dominant defenses in college football. The vaunted Bulldogs squad has allowed just 257 yards per game to opposing teams in 2019, which is the fourth fewest in the country.
On the other side of the ball, Georgia’s offense is headed by junior quarterback Jake Fromm, who, alongside junior running back D’Andre Swift, has formed a formidable tandem that has helped propel the team to an 11-1 record.
It is worth noting that LSU’s defense, conversely, has had a less impressive season than its opponent. The Tigers have given up at least 30 points to four different teams this season, only one of which is currently ranked: Alabama.
Georgia’s defense will prove to be the biggest challenge that Burrow and his team have faced thus far in 2019. The Tigers have solidified themselves as the second-best team in the nation, next to Ohio State, but their performance against No. 4 Georgia in the SEC Championship should paint a clear picture of their potential to make a run at a national championship.
While LSU is almost certainly a lock for one of the four spots available in the College Football Playoff, Georgia’s fate will likely be sealed by the outcome of this game. The rarity of two teams from the same conference both making the playoff suggests that the Bulldogs’ only shot at a berth will come on the wings of a victory against LSU in the conference championship. In part, their destiny is also controlled by whether or not, and by how much, No. 3 Clemson and No. 5 Utah win their conference championships against Virginia and Oregon, respectively. In some scenarios, whichever team comes out on top of the Big 12, which will be decided by the Oklahoma vs. Baylor game, will also affect Georgia’s chances of reaching the playoff.
College football fans will eagerly await the SEC Championship matchup to see a seemingly unstoppable force, LSU’s offense, face off against a stout Georgia defense that is desperate to avoid being eliminated from the playoff frenzy. Only after Saturday will we be one step closer to knowing which of the many chaotic playoff scenarios will unfold.
Prediction: LSU 35, Georgia 30
Malcolm Wilson is a freshman majoring in journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.