Here we are again! We are only 5 weeks into SEC play and we have yet again another matchup between two Top 10 teams! Two weeks ago, #1 Alabama played at #6 Texas A&M and we all know how that game lived up to its hype.
It was the highest rating for a regular season college football game on CBS in 23 years drawing a 9.0 rating. The game between #6 LSU and # 9 UGA will also live up to its hype and here is the reason why:
To start with, ESPN College Gameday will be coming to Athens, GA for the first time since 2008 when the Dawgs hosted a blackout party for the incoming Crimson Tide of Alabama. The end game result was a disappointment both for Bulldog fans and TV ratings. Alabama blitzed the Dogs out of the gate to a 31-0 halftime lead and went on to finish the game off at a score of 41-30. In fact, Georgia has lost the last 5 games when College Gameday has placed the Dawgs on their lineup schedule. Georgia, Coach Mark Richt, and QB Aaron Murray are a group who repeatedly has been called out by media and fans for not being able to win the big one.
But Georgia has made progress. The Bulldogs have already defeated South Carolina at home this year and have won the past 2 SEC East Championships. The Dogs were also 5 yards away from beating an Alabama team in the SEC Championship Game last year that went on to win the National Championship. LSU ended last season losing to Clemson in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl 25-24. Georgia lost to Clemson to open the season 38-35. These two teams really are mirror images of each other. Maybe that is why their current ratings of #6 and #9 are interchangeable when they are flipped upside down. Heck, even LSU’s starting QB Zach Mettenberger played as Aaron Murray’s backup QB at Georgia before transferring to the Tigers.
Both the Dawgs and the Tigers offense are clicking on all cylinders. UGA is 6th in the nation averaging 574 yards a game whereas LSU is 33rd averaging 480 yards. Both teams average over 40 points per game. Defensively, both squads are young and talented. LSU is giving up 310 yards and 20 ppg to their opponent while UGA is allowing 389 yards and 30 ppg. Georgia has faced the stiffer schedule thus far. Does this mean we are in for another shootout? Judging by the stats alone, one would have to say yes. But one must look beyond the stats when rival teams play one another.
Recent history says this game has often been a lopsided result for either team. 5 out of the last 6 games ended with one team winning by a margin of 14 points or greater. LSU has won the last 2 contests but UGA won the previous 3 games before that. Three out of the last six games played between the two teams were for the SEC Championship title. LSU won the prestigious trophy in 2003 and 2011 over the Dogs whereas UGA defeated the Tigers in 2005 for the crown. Overall, the teams have played 29 times, with LSU currently leading the series by a record of 16-12-1.
More than anything, this game is all about inter-conference pride. For the past few years, the SEC East teams have played second fiddle to the SEC West’s big dogs. Alabama, LSU, and now Texas A&M are all looked at as more of a formidable foe than the best teams that the East can offer. The SEC Championship Game has become a stepping stone for a team from the West to use a team from the East as a doormat before entering the National Championship Game. The West does carry and rightfully so based on recent results a lack of respect for Eastern teams. That all can change Saturday and the winner of this game can be considered the second best team in the Conference.
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