Game of the Week: LSU, Georgia face off for SEC championship
Heading into the season, Georgia seemed better positioned to reach the SEC title game than LSU, which had suspended its starting quarterback and faced a slate that included road trips to Alabama and Mississippi State and daunting nonconference meetings with Oregon and West Virginia. After LSU whipped Oregon and Boise State handled Georgia in Week 1, however, expectations flipped.
Now here we are, with No. 1 LSU undefeated and bound for the national title game after surviving its trip to Tuscaloosa and No. 12 Georgia on a 10-game win streak. The SEC title game has served as a stepping stone to a BCS title the last five years, and it appears likely to be again with LSU a heavy favorite to remain undefeated. The last time the SEC title game did not produce the national champ? In 2005, when No. 3 LSU was upset by Georgia. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. at the Georgia Dome on CBS.
LSU enters the game as a 13.5-point favorite. LSU is 9-3 against the spread this season and 7-1 in its last eight against teams with winning records. During its 10-game win streak (all as the favorite), Georgia has covered eight times. Georgia is 0-4 the last two seasons against the spread as an underdog, losing both times this season (Boise State, South Carolina).
Twelve of the last 13 SEC championship games have been decided by 10 points or more, with LSU's 21-14 win over Tennessee in 2007 being the lone exception.
Georgia is eager to show it belongs in this game. On paper, the Bulldogs do carry some impressive numbers: a 10-game winning streak, the nation's fifth-ranked defense and the SEC's No. 1 quarterback in pass efficiency. "I think our defense is as good as theirs, if not better," Georgia linebacker Jones said this week. (Think that quote made it to Baton Rouge?) LSU, however, seems to have an endless array of weapons, from a dominant and deep defensive line, to a ball-hawking and athletic secondary, to a relentless running game. And as the Tigers showed against Arkansas, they're not easily thrown off their game, even if they face adversity early. Georgia has the talent to make some big plays and keep the LSU offense in check for a while, but ultimately LSU will stretch it out in the second half.