• 73°

LSU’s big offensive versus UGA’s defense

For the third year in a row, the SEC Championship acts as the College Football Playoffs quarterfinals game. The No. 2 LSU Tigers and their dominant offense will face off against the Georgia Bulldogs and their stingy defense.

I’m not going to bring up any numbers or stats for this. My thoughts about this game, for better or for worse, come from my gut.

LSU has had an incredible year with its first undefeated regular season since 2011, when the Tigers were far and away the best team in the land except for one fateful night in January against Alabama. That was actually the last year Georgia played LSU in the SEC Championship. The Dawgs didn’t play so well that day.

Joe Burrow, the clear-cut Heisman Trophy favorite, has lit up the scoreboard and the hearts of LSU Nation. The team is fun to watch. They make big splashy plays, where Burrow wows the crowds with his pinpoint accuracy to elite wide receivers. This makes running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s job easier than ever, as he tears through defenses that are on their heels from getting dinked, dunked and demolished all game. Nobody can say the 2019 LSU Tigers don’t “Ohhhs” and “Ahhhs”.

Georgia is the complete opposite. Where LSU wants to score as many points as possible and laugh as their opponents try to keep up, the Bulldogs want to score just enough points to win. Once they have a lead, they sit on it and let the defense handle the rest. I liken it to a man picking someone else up and letting them kick and scream until they run out of energy and give up. A nice, slow, clock-burning way to win—that’s what Georgia likes. That’s what Kirby Smart likes. It’s not flashy. It’s not exciting (most of the time). But it is low risk, and Georgia does it well. That is, until the Dawgs turn the ball over four times and suddenly the game plan doesn’t work anymore, a la South Carolina.

Truly, this is a game between two very different teams. I think that will make it exciting. Georgia’s defense hasn’t allowed more than 17 points all season. LSU has scored at least 40 points in 10 of its 12 games. Georgia’s offense will probably try to take advantage of the weak edges on LSU’s defense. LSU will do what it normally does: throw, throw, and throw some more, then run it down Georgia’s throat.

Unfortunately, Georgia won’t be able to get away with just field goals on Saturday night. The biggest problem with the Dawgs’ offense is sputtering out in the red zone, only to be bailed out by kicker Rodrigo Blakenship.

I’m excited to see what these two teams scheme up to stop one another. I’m excited to see what plays will be pulled out to gain the upper hand. I’m just excited.

At the end of the day, I think the Dawgs’ offense will do just enough to win and the defense will hold strong. Georgia wins 26-24.

In the Big 12, Baylor will get its revenge on Oklahoma and win the conference championship. I would prefer to see the Bears in the College Football Playoffs over Oklahoma. The Sooners haven’t been as strong of a team as they were the previous two seasons, and frankly, they’ll probably lose in the first round if they do make it… again.

Over in the Pac 12, Utah suddenly seems well-poised to slide right into the College Football Playoffs should it win and Georgia lose. The No. 5 Utes are an ever-so-slight favorite over the Ducks. Seeing as how this column will publish on Saturday and I am writing it on Friday afternoon, just a few hours before the game, I’ll go ahead and say it was Utah that won. Lee Corso should be happy.