Florida and Alabama will make their way to Atlanta to face off in the SEC Championship Game on Saturday night for the 10th time in the history of the SEC Championship.
Alabama comes into the matchup with the Gators looking to put a bow on top of an already impressive season. Head Coach Nick Saban has his Crimson Tide playing on a level that only Alabama can play on.
The Crimson Tide are rolling on all cylinders especially, on the offensive side of the ball. On the offensive ball, Alabama has two Heisman Trophy frontrunners in Mac Jones at quarterback and DeVonta Smith at wideout. Alabama also has a standout running back in Najee Harris. The one-two-three punch from the Alabama offensive side of the ball is the best in the country, ranking first in many categories across the board. This season alone, the Crimson Tide has outscored their opponents by a wide margin of 495-168.
Head Coach Nick Saban had this to say about playing in another SEC Championship.
“First of all, I’d like to congratulate Dan Mullen and his Florida team for winning the East. They’ve got an outstanding team. They have played really well all year long. We’re looking forward to the challenge of playing in the SEC championship game, which we think is one of the best competitive venues our team has ever been a part of.
It’s also the city of Atlanta, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Southeastern Conference has made this really something special for the teams who participate. We certainly appreciate and thank them for that.
Florida is a very challenging team, one of the best offensive teams in the country in a lot of different ways in terms of touchdowns, scoring points, pass offense, great quarterback, really good mismatch players on the perimeter. It’s going to be a very challenging game for our defense. Defensively they create a lot of issues and problems. Todd does multiple things and pressures, including negative plays. They have very good players. They’re very good on special teams.”
Head Coach Nick Saban on not overlooking Florida and becoming complacent.
” First of all, I think you have to respect who you’re playing. Florida has a really, really good team who is probably capable of beating any team in the country. We’re going to have to play very well, focus on what we have to do really well in this game to have a chance to be successful, number one.
Number two, I think the opportunity to play for the SEC championship is something that players should be very motivated to try to do. The thing that I talk to the players about is there’s not very many teams that go undefeated in college football. There’s only a few each year. Do you have to have a loss, since we’re using the word ‘reinvigorate’ yourself, do you have to have a loss to be able to do that as a player or can you stay focused, can you keep the intensity, can you continue to create the right habits in practice, in preparation so that you have an opportunity to go out and play well regardless of the grind of the season, regardless of how many games you won?
You got to focus on what’s in front of you because at this point in the season it’s like the Playoffs, it’s like a new season. What you did during the season really doesn’t have any influence on the outcome of what you do moving forward. You have to have the maturity to understand that and stay focused on what you need to do to continue to play well and think that the people you’re going to play against at this time of the season are going to be the best players you played against all year long. “
For Florida, they come into the SEC Championship matchup with Alabama looking to rebound after a disappointing 37-34 home loss to LSU. The loss to LSU eliminated Florida from the College Football Playoff after a second loss for the Gators.
Like Alabama, the Gators come into the SEC Championship with a Heisman hopeful in Kyle Trask. Like Mac Jones at Alabama, Kyle Trask has had an impressive year full of record-shattering performances for the Gators.
Saturday’s matchup between the Crimson Tide and the Gators will likely decide who will win the 2020 Heisman Trophy.
Head Coach Dan Mullen had this to say about bouncing back after the loss to LSU and facing Alabama in the SEC Championship game.
” The competitiveness edge of these guys. We have competitive guys. Each week is a new opportunity, a new challenge in itself.
Whatever happens the week before, you can enjoy that on a Saturday night or you can be upset on a Saturday night, one or the other. But on Sunday morning, none of that really matters anymore. You’re back to work, back on to the next week, back on to the next challenge.
I think that’s kind of easier. It might sound like coach talk, but there’s reality when you’re a competitor to that. You’re on to the next one. Win or lose, you want to win the next one.
I’ll be honest with you, Saturday night we’re either going to be really celebrating in our locker room, happy, or we’ll be sad in our locker room. Sunday morning we’re on to the next one. That’s how it is. That’s what you do as a competitor.”
Head Coach Dan Mullen on facing the powerful Alabama offense.
“I mean, you have to be sound, be assignment sound. They got a lot of weapons all over the field, in the passing game, in the run game. You got to be sound, understand your scheme, and then you got to have 11 guys running the ball as hard as they can every single play.
They’re going to make plays. You can’t worry about the play before, you just worry about the next play, being sound on that next play, forcing them to have to execute for an entire game.”
Saturday’s SEC Championship on paper will be a huge mismatch for the Gators as the Crimson Time are double-digit favorites. With history as our guide, this game will be a lot closer than the numbers suggest.
The SEC Championship will get underway on CBS with a primetime 7:00 P: M kickoff.