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SEC Championship Game Preview: Setting the Stage

We begin our preview of the SEC Championship Game with a look at the outlines of the contest and where you can go to get more information


When / Where / What channel: Saturday, 4 p.m. ET / Georgia Dome, Atlanta / CBS

SB Nation blogs: Georgia -- Dawg Sports, SBN Atlanta; Alabama -- Roll Bama Roll

How Georgia got here: In perhaps the most improbable bounce-back division title runs since Tennessee in 2007. Any hopes for Georgia to win the SEC East seemed to be on life support after the Dawgs got annihilated by South Carolina, 35-7, in early October. But South Carolina dropped its next two games to LSU and Florida, and three weeks after Georgia almost lost the division in Columbia, it regained control by upsetting Florida in Jacksonville. Critics will point to the underwhelming schedule, but the Dawgs won the games that were in front of them and did everything they're supposed to do to win the SEC East. They have fewer losses than South Carolina and beat a team that clocked the Gamecocks a week before; and of course, Georgia has the head-to-head win against Florida. That's about as convincing a case for the division title as a one-loss team can make.

How Alabama got here: Easily. The Tide won nine of its twelve games by at least 27 points. The upset loss to Texas A&M never posed a serious threat to Alabama's SEC West hopes -- all they had to do at that point was beat Auburn -- and ended up not endangering the Tide's shot at a national title. (Either team that wins in Atlanta is likely to end up in Miami playing for the crystal football.) One thing Bama has not faced is criticism over its strength of schedule. (At 39th according to Sagarin, it's not that much harder than Georgia's slate, which checks in at 42nd.) Part of this is the lingering perception that the West is better than the East, though there seems to be less evidence of that this year than in the past, and part of that is the consequence of a three-week stretch against Mississippi State, LSU and Texas A&M that sticks out in people's mind because it's recent.

Line: Alabama by 7.0 to 8.5