Is there a chance Alabama could lose the SEC Championship Game to Florida this weekend in Atlanta? Well, of course, there is a chance it could happen, but you should not count on seeing it happen. This may not be Nick Saban's best Alabama team he has coached, but it may have the most favorable matchup he has seen in the SEC Championship Game.
This much should be said in Florida's defense. The defense has been the strength of the program the last few years under Will Muschamp and now under Jim McElwain. The offense, on the other hand, leaves a lot to be desired. The midseason suspension of starting quarterback Will Grier was a big hit for the Florida offense and Treon Harris has been unable to keep things moving effectively. Florida's offense struggled in a big way against Florida Atlantic two weeks ago and again last week against Florida State. Against Alabama, Florida's offense should have difficulty against a strong defensive push from the Crimson Tide.
Alabama may not explode all over Florida, but Heisman Trophy candidate Derrick Henry should find a way to power the Tide over Florida. Last week the Gators did a solid job of minimizing the effectiveness of Florida State's Dalvin Cook. However, as the game played out, Cook eventually took advantage of a tired Florida defense and scored some big runs and a couple of touchdowns as a result. Henry may be able to have a similar performance in his final game of the season before the Heisman Trophy is awarded in New York City next week. Henry has rushed for 1,797 yards and 22 touchdowns this season. His Heisman campaign may already have done the trick, but after rushing for 200 yards against each of Alabama's last three FBS opponents, he has heated up at the best possible time for Alabama.
After the game, Alabama appears to be ready to lose its defensive coordinator, Kirby Smart. Smart is reported to be the next head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs, long believed to be the only head coaching job he would leave Alabama for. Smart will have to make a decision to stay with Alabama through its College Football Playoff run or jump ship and get right to work for Georgia. That will be the decision to be made because a win by Alabama will pretty much lock the Crimson Tide in for a second straight College Football Playoff appearance.
The Pick: Alabama 24, Florida 10
Kevin McGuire is a Philadelphia area sports writer covering the Philadelphia Eagles and college football. McGuire is a member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. Follow McGuire on Twitter @KevinOnCFB. His work can be found on Examiner.com.
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