Five burning questions about the SEC championship game

 

 

Five burning questions about the SEC Championship game:

 

1. What impact will the loss of DE Carlos Dunlap have on Florida? There are two levels of concern if you’re Florida. No. 1 is the fact that you just lost a first round draft choice for the biggest game of the year. Dunlap, the defensive MVP of the BCS championship game last January, was tied for team lead in sacks at seven. He’s a great player. The second impact is just the mental distraction. The other players on that team, who have been busting their butts since February, see one of their key guys do a stupid, selfish thing. It has to be disheartening. This is where really good coaches earn their money.

 

2. Was it a surprise to see Urban Meyer let Dunlap go so quickly? Not at all. Meyer learned an important lesson from his handling of the Brandon Spikes suspension, which was roundly criticized in the media. That was a one-day story that turned into a five-day story because it wasn’t properly handled. Meyer knew he couldn’t let questions about Dunlap’s status dominate the conversation this week. The break had to be quick and clean.

 

3. What is Nick Saban telling his guys this week? It goes something like this: “Fellas, we pride ourselves on playing a complete football game. We didn’t do that against Florida last year. We played great for three quarters and then they beat us in the fourth quarter. And if we don’t take control of the fourth quarter on Saturday we’re going to get beat again.” Kevin Scarbinsky of the Birmingham News points out that only one coach, Steve Spurrier, has ever beaten Saban in consecutive meetings. That’s because Saban pays great attention to detail, especially when he loses.

 

4. What is Urban Meyer telling his guys this week? It goes something like this: “Fellas, we are the defending national champions. We have won 22 straight football games in the toughest conference in college football. And there are STILL people out there who don’t think you’re that good. Well, Saturday afternoon at 4 o’clock we’re going to show them how good we really are.”

 

5. Is this Alabama team better than the one that played Florida a year ago? Yes and I think it is significantly better. The offensive line may not be quite as good but the line last season was one of the best that Alabama has ever had. This offensive line had to replace three starters and has improved as the season went along. This team can do more things on offense, like put Mark Ingram into the Wildcat formation. Defensively, despite the loss of linebacker Dont’a Hightower, this has been one of the best units at Alabama since the national championship defense of 1992. After losing to Florida last December, Saban knew he was going to have to have a different kind of team to beat the Gators should they meet again. He has basically been getting ready for this game for 11 months.

 

BONUS QUESTION

What is the key stat that nobody is talking about? I think it’s the fact that Florida has given up 28 quarterback sacks this season. Florida won the game a year ago because Tim Tebow had time to make big throw after big throw with the game on the line. Alabama’s pass rush this season has been better. Alabama has 31 quarterback sacks in 12 games. The Crimson Tide had 26 sacks in 14 games last season. Florida is going to have to throw the ball to win. It appears Tebow will have less time to throw than he did a year ago. It’s just something to keep in mind.

 

 

 Please follow me on Twitter:

http://twitter.com/MrCFB

201 comments Add your comment

Jim Mora Jr.

December 3rd, 2009
7:00 am

Most of you on these blogs are morons

December 3rd, 2009
7:04 am

RE: the UGA DC position – Tenuta is a joke, as are all the other “names” suggested here – Kines, Ellis Johnson, Amato, Smart, Joe Lee Dunn, Tony Dungy (now that is an all time dumbass suggestion), etc – even David Pollack said that Garner is a great recruiter and position coach but does not have the acumen to be a DC (and Richt knows this).

No, the way to go is to find an up and comer (possibly the guy at TCU – but their success may be due to who they play – but then, again, with the athletes UGA gets if he can coach UP he is a good choice – as would be Stgeele from Clemson, IF they can stop Tech this weekend!) like Bo Pellini was at LSU.

Hopefully, CMR knows who he wants – now all he has to do is “recruit” him.

Edsak

December 3rd, 2009
7:04 am

Kennesaw Dawg

December 3rd, 2009
7:13 am

And the most important question………..who do you think will win??

DONUTDAWG

December 3rd, 2009
7:27 am

dawg fans are a joke? We just may have to suspend your membership of the local chapter of Inbreddawgheads, but first let me go grad another dozen

Gatorzip74

December 3rd, 2009
7:30 am

TB is setting up his prediction to pick Bama. Keep this in mind though, everyone is saying that Bama’s defense is going to rattle Tebow and that he’s never faced anything like it. BS, he does it in practice everyday. I’ve been saying this for 3yrs now, don’t bet against him. He’s a winner and will find a way to win this game.

Not Saint Simons

December 3rd, 2009
7:38 am

yeah, tell us who’s gonna “roll over” the other side, so we can bet against your pick!

30-24 Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Reed Hall Rat

December 3rd, 2009
7:49 am

Being a fan of college football, I find this game extremely exciting. Can’t wait until Saturday. However, and speaking strictly as a Georgia alum and rabid fan, I wish they could both join Tech in the Loser’s Column. Let a really worthy team (oh, I don’t know, Boise State?) ascend the lofty heights.

John

December 3rd, 2009
7:49 am

Tony, What do you mean by only Sputtier beat Saban in consecutive meetings? Do you mean back to back years? Mark Richt also beat Saban in consecutive meetings in 2004 in Athens (Saban at LSU) and in 2007 at Alabama.

Billy Ray Valentine

December 3rd, 2009
8:00 am

Reed Hall Rat,
What makes Boise St. such a “worthy” team?
Was it their blowing out of Idaho that makes them “worthy”?
Was it their barely getting by Tulsa that makes them “worthy”

They’re a good football team, but let’s not get kool-aid drunk and say they are more deserving than Florida, Alabama, or even TCU for that matter.

Soulja Girl on Marta

December 3rd, 2009
8:10 am

Where is Nachos?

Too Easy

December 3rd, 2009
8:10 am

OK, so Reed Hall Rat changes his pick to TCU. You missed his point, BRV.

whatever, Paul

December 3rd, 2009
8:11 am

Just heard Tony and the 790 morning guys put their spin on the spin job that was CPJ’s “we don’t define ourselves by what Georgia does, etc.” speech of the other day. “Boy, he’s not backing down. You don’t get any coach speak from this guy,” etc. Give me a break! It sounds like straight shooting, but what in truth it is coach speak of the highest order: talking tough in order to deflect attention from a high profile on field failure. I would do the same thing if I were in his shoes, but if the double-digit win seasons don’t keep coming, I could see his straight-shooter act wearing very thin very fast.

MtnBama

December 3rd, 2009
8:12 am

Tony, glad you mentioned the fact that Bama has played without it’s best defensive player (Hightower) since the third game of the season, so it is a wash as far as the Dunlap loss for Fl.Promises to be the best game of the season, Bama will win if G-Mac can make some plays. Bama has to throw on first down to be successful. RTR.

Spike

December 3rd, 2009
8:15 am

Tony, double bonus question.. Why no mention at all about the UGA-Tech game? Mr. College Football, indeed.

Jim

December 3rd, 2009
8:15 am

Joe Paterno also beat Saban in consecutive meetings while he was at Michigan State, 1995 & 1996. But never let the facts get in the way of a local sportswriter, Scarbisnky, kissing the butt of his meal ticket.

Nachos

December 3rd, 2009
8:17 am

Yawn…just waking up. Damn. That Adam Lambert just put an all-nighter on me. Hope those Bama boys are up to snuff when he comes knocking on their door!

Nachos

December 3rd, 2009
8:18 am

Satan and his nation are not the end all to be all that everyone thinks he is.

SimpleDawg

December 3rd, 2009
8:23 am

There sure seems to be a lot of cranky people on the computer this morning.

We need Kirby….he would be the best fit.
Ellis Johnson would be a great choice, also.
Forget the former tech guy….don’t even consider all of those old retreads – Joe Lee, Chucky Chest, etc.

I think this may be Bama’s year……and a chance to ruin the Tebow lovefest would just be icing on the cake.

Oh, and let’s let the 30-24 stuff go. Remember, we’ve been here before; this isn’t some new shifting of the universe.

Bama 20
The Snapping Tebows 10

Satan

December 3rd, 2009
8:23 am

Satanation rules the SEC!!! Forget the black and white houndstooth in Tuscalooser! There’s a new man in town who wears the color crimson and has a forked tail and horns!

Jake

December 3rd, 2009
8:24 am

I’m just glad their ( Bama and Fla ) both in the SEC. I do think the winner of this game can take it to the house and win the NC. Tn vs VT in Chick Bowl? VT may be the best team in the ACC. Auburn going to Tampa?

Winthorpe

December 3rd, 2009
8:27 am

Billy Ray Valentine! Let’s make a bet. One dollar. Florida beats Alabama.

Satanation Crimson Tide

December 3rd, 2009
8:32 am

We worship Nick Satan in Tuscalooser! The Tide may be rising but nothing can douse the flames of Satan!!!

Bull Gator

December 3rd, 2009
8:35 am

I love how every pundit in America brings up the fact that Saban has been preparing for this game for the last year, as if Urban has been sitting around marveling at all the success he’s had. Both coaches will have their teams ready to play. After last year’s classic battle, I can only hope that the rematch comes close to living up to the hype. Both teams are championship-caliber teams, and it’s going to be one hell of a battle.

Get loud Gators!

TDone

December 3rd, 2009
8:38 am

To Mr. Spike, another bonus question, why is this so important to you?

Graig Brezina

December 3rd, 2009
8:38 am

Sorry guys, but the fact remains that the YellowJackets smacked down the mighty Bulldogs 45-42 last season, and that’s not gonna change no matter what happens the rest of the way. GT rocks!

Im N Idiot

December 3rd, 2009
8:40 am

TWENTY-SEVENTH!!

Atlanta Gator

December 3rd, 2009
8:42 am

1. Brandon Spikes and Tim Tebow will have the Gators plenty fired up, so I suspect the “disheartening” factor of losing Carlos Dunlap for the game will be minimal. There will some drop-off at his end position, but Trattou and others will doe their best to pick up the slack. Impact on the game outcome? Unknown . . . we shall see.

2. No surprise. Detractors try to make Meyer out to be some sort of rule-bending coach who refuses to appropriately discipline his team members. Reality could no be further from that distortion. The truth is that Meyer’s predecessor was the one who had massive problems with team discipline, and it was one of the major reasons he got canned by AD Jeremy Foley.

3. If Saban is not using the the second and third-place poll and BCS rankings to motivate his squad, I would be surprised. “Disprespect” is the oldest motivational tool in the shed, and it works.

4. Meyer: Alabama wants it badly, as much as we do. Execute and play hard for four quarters. Don’t let up. Do what you trained to do. This is the Game—-all of our team goals start in Atlanta. Make your mamas and daddies proud. There is no tomorrow.

5. Both defenses may be better. The Tide offense is more consistent. The Gator offense is not as big play-oriented as 2008, but it has shown the toughness and ability to grind it out when necessary.

6. Yes, the Gators’ sack stats are troubling. We will see if this problem manifests itself in a significant way against Alabama. It has the potential to be a game-changer.

GatorG

December 3rd, 2009
8:42 am

“That was a one-day story that turned into a five-day story because it wasn’t properly handled.”

I agree, Tony. It was poorly handled – by idiot homer “journalists” like you.

Eat It St. Simons

December 3rd, 2009
8:45 am

(((30-24))) hahahahahahahahahaha

Tony – I realize that Bama/UF is the biggest game of the year, but still nothing on the Dawgs/GT or the staff changes at UGA?

PaulJohnson

December 3rd, 2009
8:45 am

I have a small weiner and it makes me an angry man

Soulja Girl on Marta

December 3rd, 2009
8:47 am

ATTN: All Posters

The Real Nachos has been banned by Barnhart.

Stay tuned for updates thru out the day. Thank you for your time.

Terd for the Nerd

December 3rd, 2009
8:48 am

BREZINA! Why are bringing up last year? You must be getting high off those terd fumes left behind by the Dawgs as you buzz around them! Eat $hit and die already, will ya!

Billy Ray Valentine

December 3rd, 2009
8:48 am

Winthorpe,

I will bet you 10 shares of frozen concentrated orange juice.

Nick Saban is a karate man. He never shows weakness. A katarate man bruises on the inside, but you don’t know nothin’ about that, you a big Barry White lookin’ motha’

Nachos

December 3rd, 2009
8:50 am

Soulja Girl! What are you talking about? I’m right here. With Adam Lambert. No one has banned me. Jesus Christ. Don’t spread rumors and mire my good name on here. Good Lord woman.

Mikey

December 3rd, 2009
8:52 am

I agree- I hope Bama wins this game and puts an end to the Tebow lovefest, as someone mentioned above.
It has to be put to death sometime…I meean geez!!!
Running onto the field carrying flowers and kissing Urb…oh what a sickening sight that was….

Winthorpe

December 3rd, 2009
8:53 am

Billy Ray Valentine,

As long as it contains no pork bellies, I’ll take that bet.

Actually, I’m a big Donald Trump lookin’ motha’ rollin’ in tha’ doe’.

GatorG

December 3rd, 2009
8:57 am

Mikey,

Let the anger go. The flowers were for his mother. All the players brought flowers in for their mom.

Even if Florida loses this game, nothing will take away Tebows amazing accomplishments over the last four years. Sorry – you’re just going to have to live with that.

Go Gators!

Nick Satan

December 3rd, 2009
8:57 am

Mikey – I don’t know man. They say love conquors all evil. Guess that means we’re in a whole lotta trouble in Tuscalooser Satanation.

Brandon Spikes

December 3rd, 2009
9:03 am

I just hope all of the Alabama players wear helmet visors because I’m coming for them. Fear the fingers.

Tide Rising

December 3rd, 2009
9:14 am

Tony,

Good synopsis. I think it all comes down to who can get the most pressure on the other’s qb in passing situations. I hate to say it but I was very relieved about Dunlap being gone since Dunlap and Cunningham coming off the edge are my 2 biggest worries. That’s a big advantage to us. Just don’t know if it will be enough.

There’s always the Tebow factor that you can’t account for. He was uncanny in the 4th qtr last year against us going 7 for 7 passing. Hopefully we can get him a couple of times this time around with sacks or at least some semblance of pressure. There wasn’t much pressure on him last year at all.

Saban has been preparing for this game but so has coarch meyer and the gator. I’m sure the gator they will be a ready. Good luck and rolls tides.

Call it Like It Is

December 3rd, 2009
9:15 am

Hey John,

We do not care about GA as they suck!

Gators win this one again and te NC!

Enough Said!

Dave

December 3rd, 2009
9:17 am

Sorry guys, after watching both teams play I think FL wins by 2 touchdowns. Alabama is tough, but limited. Defense has a monster front 4 and plays like a wall. Florida has speed to burn on both sides of the ball and in spite of the stats, has a better defense then Bama. Florida’s defense can make bigger plays then Bama’s and Florida has Tebow, Demps and Rainey. Alabama is good and easily the 2nd best team in the land, but Florida is #1.

Billy Ray Valentine

December 3rd, 2009
9:18 am

Winthorpe,

how about we bet a G.I. Joe with the Kung-fu grip?

He was wearing my Harvard tie. Can you believe it? My Harvard tie. Like oh, sure he went to Harvard.

2 DAWG CREW

December 3rd, 2009
9:23 am

Who the hell cares who wins this game????I hope it ends in a tie so Texas can play TCU in the championship!!!!!GO DAWGS!!!!!

Gator McKluskey

December 3rd, 2009
9:26 am

You DAWG fans can cry in your MOONSHINE while Florida beats the Bloody Tide by 3 points!

Dog Island Gator

December 3rd, 2009
9:30 am

Tim Tebow will break Alabama’s heart again. Long live and long rule the FLORIDA GATORS!

Steve

December 3rd, 2009
9:33 am

Concerning the the Brandon Spikes suspension, which was roundly criticized in the media, you give yourself and your fellow tabloid hacks credit for impacting a situation when none is deserved. Here’s an update for you mr. drama queen. No one gives a flying f*** about your sense of entitlement and justice.

It would be nice to read some actual reporting. Are you up to it?

Darius

December 3rd, 2009
9:36 am

Tony – you are wrong about the Spike’s issue playing a part in Meyer’s actions. In fact, saying it did shows how little you really know about Meyer and his history as a coach. It really is quite sad how little you know about things you decide to comment on.

TommyP

December 3rd, 2009
9:41 am

Maybe it’s me but can someone tell me why it’s Thursday and we still haven’t read anything by “Mr. College Football” about the Georgia victory over Tech in an Atlanta newspaper?

Maybe it’s me but can someone tell me why Georgia just fired it’s defensive staff and the column isn’t about that?

I mean, haven’t we talked about Florida/Bama since September????

Like we really want to hear what Tony thinks Saban and Urban are saying to their teams? “Fellas….”

This is pretty bad, man.