W2W4 Report Card – The SEC Championship Game

Well, it wasn’t exactly our best work this week but there were several predictions we were pretty pleased with – calling Amari Cooper’s bomb and a late Bama score being two of them.  Here’s how we did in the biggest game of the year…

 Predictions We Got Right 

Alabama is more than twice as effective at stopping the run and gives up 104 yards less per game than UGA!  That is a substantial difference!  We attempted to call out the fact that UGA ranked 11th against the run and, comparatively, Bama held a huge advantage here.
Look for a HEAVY dose of No Huddle against UGA. As predicted, the game began just as we thought it would with the Tide featuring the No Huddle offense.
The interior defenders for the Dawgs are massive but they have no stamina. This was a great call as they clearly wilted as the game progressed.
Look for Alabama to employ a ton of zone blocking stretch plays that are designed to generate a flow one way and then use cut blocks on the backside to open up cutback lanes on the backside of the run. They employed the zone scheme which allowed several cutbacks into the middle of the field.  This was gorgeous!
So, with Jarvis Jones being hell bent on getting to the QB (and only he and the other LB Jenkins are true pass rushers as evidenced by the fact they only rank 10th in the SEC in generating sacks), a draw and/or screen is available on his side of the line.  Early in the game, Bama ran two screens right at Jarvis Jenkins.  After that, they used delayed handoffs to his side of the line of scrimmage time and time again.
We’ll screen and draw with our backs at least 5 times during this game, IMO Two screens and numerous delayed handoffs  made this one a winning prediction.
Look for a combination of chip blocks from the backs and TE help to assist in successfully neutralizing the Georgia ends. Lacy and Williams consistently stayed in to chip and help out on the Georgia ends.
Look for Jarvis Jones to collect at least one sack and Georgia as a team to get at least two. Georgia got three sacks, two of them by Jones (but all of them were due to AJ holding the ball too long, in our opinion).
This will be a defensive struggle until a late score by Bama. Ok, this one is listed as both a right prediction and a wrong prediction.  In this case, we got the late score right!
Alabama will use the hurry up, no huddle attack for the first several drives but then they’ll likely settle into their normal routine.  Ding!  Couldn’t have been more right about this one.
Amari Cooper will get deep once again and it will be on a play action pass. Or, he’ll get deep twice!
This should allow one on one coverage for Cooper and he should haul in a pass over 25 yards. Or he’ll haul in two passes over 25 yards!
Alabama’s corners must match up with King and Mitchell, as they are the two playmakers in the Georgia passing game. Did you notice that Milliner checked Mitchell and Belue manned up against King all night long?  This was a change in philosophy that worked beautifully.
In particular, Arthur Lynch has three catches in each of his last three games so look for Lynch to receive a lot of targets in this game. Lynch was a huge part of the game in the latter stages of the game catching a total of 3 passes for 50 yards.  He was targeted three other times.
A staple of the UGA passing game is the screen game but, as I’ve told you guys for two years, no one plays screens better than Alabama.  The fact that Bama should be able to eliminate the screen game from the Dawgs’ playbook is a huge advantage. Alabama shut down the UGA screen game to their backs.  Georgia completed one of these for a loss of yardage and never came back to it.
Gurley is built like Hill so I suspect the UGA running game will be better than you want it to be. Gurley rushed for 122 yards which was a lot more than we wanted.
We look for Murray to complete less than 60% of his passes. Murray completed 55% of his throws Saturday.
We look for Murray to have at least two batted and battered balls. Alabama deflected three passes, none bigger than CJ Mosley’s game winner.
Gurley will be the one constant in the Georgia offense and will rush for over 80 yards Waaaay over 80 yards.
Bama’s secondary woes will not be exposed as they were against LSU or Texas A&M and Georgia. Until the last drive, I felt the secondary played much, much better.  Geno Smith was a huge upgrade in the secondary.
Look for Cody Mandell to have another big game as he continues to be a valuable weapon for Saban’s very special teams Mandell put three punts inside the 20 and had a 41.8 yard punting average.
Big time games are won by big time big boys on the offensive and defensive lines and that is where Alabama holds a distinct advantage on both sides of the ball. I think we can safely say this was a correct prediction.  The Bama front four recorded three sacks and the Bama OL had a record breaking performance.
Second, Alabama’s offensive line is experienced, athletic and physical and, as big as Georgia’s defenders are, they are not they type of defenders who typically pose real problems for Bama’s line. Cue up Scott Cochran’s “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeaaaah!!!”
The size of UGA’s tackles shouldn’t be as big of an issue as some are saying in my opinion Oh yeah, we nailed this one!
Saban owns moments like this one.  Richt has nightmares about his history of big losses in big games.  Expect another nightmare on Peachtree Street for the Dawgs Think Richt is having nightmares about not spiking the ball?  Think Saban is still patting himself on the back for that 2 point conversion?  Yeah, us, too.

 Predictions We Got Wrong 

Look for Alabama’s backs and slot receivers to use option routes in the middle of the field to isolate and expose the LBs in coverage.  Ok, this never, ever, ever happened.  Not once.  Lacy WAS open on the check downs but the ball was never thrown.
UGA blew a coverage against a tight end deep and I think we’ll try the same route with a slot WR or Michael Williams. Again, this didn’t happen a single solitary time.
The fullback, H-back or running back will run right by Jarvis Jones and be wide open.  Yeah, so, again – never happened.
Black wears jersey #5 so be on the lookout for him! Or, don’t be on the lookout for Chris Black.  While Alabama was wearing their white jerseys, looks like Black will be keeping his redshirt.
Look for Alabama to rush for under 135 yards. Ha!  What were we thinking?
Look for Bama to pass for around 250 yards. AJ had one of his worst performances in this game (that is until his final pass).
This will be a defensive struggle until a late score by Bama. Defensive struggle?  Not so much.
This is the key difference between these two championship game combatants and should make for an Uga-ly performance from Murray. The Georgia OL didn’t play great, giving up 3 sacks and allowing Murray to only complete 55% of his passes.  But, 265 yards?  Never saw that coming.
Look for Mosley to lead the team is pass breakups and I think he’ll pick Murray off at least once No picks for Mosley.  No real pass breakups, either.
Also, look for big Jesse Williams to have his name called for being in the UGA backfield a few times. No tackles for loss by Jesse.  Sigh.
Finally, the kicking game should prove to be a huge advantage for Alabama This is absolutely the worst prediction the Lighthouse made this year.
Look for Christion Jones to pop off a big return that ignites the Bama sidelines early in the first half Jones didn’t have one single big return – his longest was 8 yards but it was a key return that set up the final scoring drive.
We look for Murray to suffer four sacks (2 by Hubbard). Alabama only recorded three sacks (but flushed him numerous times) and only one by Hubbard.
Final Score:  Alabama 24               Georgia 13 Alabama didn’t cover and it was certainly a higher scoring game than we suspected.

 Correct Predictions – 26 

Incorrect Predictions – 14


One comment on “W2W4 Report Card – The SEC Championship Game

  1. Chris Lusco says:

    Final score was the amount of predictions you would get right and wrong? 😀


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