No. 1 Alabama will meet No. 7 Florida in a cross-division battle in the SEC Championship Game on Saturday night in Atlanta. It’ll be the 10th time the Crimson Tide and Gators have met in the conference championship game since it began in 1992.
Alabama is coming off of an emphatic win over Arkansas, and hopes to polish off a perfect season and cruise into the College Football Playoff. The college football world got a December surprise last week when Florida fell at home to an LSU team that not only has had a miserable season, but was playing with a roster decimated by injuries, positive COVID-19 tests and contact tracing. As a result, this game will not serve as a de facto national quarterfinal for the first time since 2016. That is, of course, unless Florida gets an emphatic win and chaos occurs all over the college football landscape.
Let’s break down the game and make picks straight up and against the spread.
Alabama: It’s nearly impossible to find a weakness on this Crimson Tide team. They boast three, that’s right, THREE Heisman Trophy candidates in quarterback Mac Jones, wide receiver DeVonta Smith and running back Najee Harris. The offensive line was recently named as a semifinalist for the Joe Moore Award, which is given to the nation’s top offensive line. The defense, which was a bit of a concern early this season, has given up just 4.09 yards per play and 270 yards per game during the month of December.
The only question facing the Tide heading into this game is if their three Heisman candidates will steal each other’s votes and allow a player from another team to win the sport’s most prestigious individual award. After all, coach Nick Saban’s crew could get blown out by the Gators and would probably still make the CFP.
Florida: Last weekend had to be one of the most demoralizing losses in Florida history. Anything that could go wrong did, from Marco Wilson’s shoe toss to the longest field goal in LSU history in a blinding fog. It’s absolutely critical that the Gators hit the reset button and focus on what former coach Steve Spurrier used to call a “ring game.”
If they’re going to win that ring, it’ll be on quarterback Kyle Trask to get the job done. The Gators’ offensive line is a mess and they haven’t been able to get the ground game going all season. Trask has been awesome, but that has been by necessity, not choice.
Event: SEC Championship Game
Date: Saturday, Dec. 19 | Time: 8 p.m. ET
Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium — Atlanta, Georgia
TV: CBS | Live stream: CBSSports.com, CBS Sports App (Free)
OTT: CBS Sports App (Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV, Chromecast)
Alabama vs. Florida prediction, picks
Alabama Crimson Tide
Not only is Alabama going to beat Florida, it’s going to beat it like a drum. I’m talking about the victory lap of all victory laps. Florida was going to have an issue anyway considering the best way to slow down the Tide offense is to have a strong running game, which would keep Mac Jones. and Co. on the sideline. Florida isn’t that team. Throw in the hangover from the LSU loss, and this is going to get ugly. Pick: Alabama -17
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