Will having a superior quarterback decide the SEC CG?

One of the choruses already being sung by the college football choir about this weekend's SEC Title game is that Florida is favored because of the man under center.

Tim Tebow, his will, his drive, and his abilities are well known commodities. Greg McElroy, on the other hand, is a relative unknown. I say relative because though there has been plenty of stuff written on McElroy, it pales in comparison to the volunious literature on Timmay, both positive and negative.

But will a quarterback's play decide the SEC title game? The obvious answer is yes.

And history backs that up. Since 2000, every SEC title game except one, the quarterback with the better numbers has left the field a victor.

But that exception tells an interesting story.

In the 2001 SEC title game, LSU, which was no. 21 in the AP poll and unranked in the BCS, faced off against No. 2 Tennessee, who was playing for the right to go to the national title game.

The Vols were heavily favored, and in fact the game was considered such a mismatch that many penciled Tennessee into the national title game already, especially since LSU had lost to UT earlier that season 26-18.

In the SECCG, Tennessee standout (at the time) quarterback Casey Clausen went off, throwing for 332 yards on 43 attempts with 27 completions. He threw no picks and two scores.

LSU's starting quarterback, on the other hand, was Rohan Davey, who completed just 9-of-20 passes before exiting the game with an injury. In his place Matt Mauck completed only 5-of-15 for 67 yards. The two combined for only 48 rushing yards, 43 of them by Mauck, who also had two scores on the ground.

So the reason LSU won was not quarterback play. Rather, it was something that this Bama team does really well: ball control.

LSU didn't dominate the game on the ground, but they rushed the ball 42 times to the Vols' 18. The Tigers averaged only slightly more than 3 yards per carry, but in running 77 snaps to Tennessee's 61, they kept the ball away from Clausen, Travis Stephens, Donte Stallworth and Kelly Washington.

The Crimson Tide will likely look to a similar strategy on Saturday. Keep the ball in the hands of Ingram and Richardson, and out of the hands of Tebow, Demps and Hernandez.

And why not? It's worked for Saban before.

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