The Most Important Question About Tomorrow’s SEC Championship Game: Who’s Coming to Georgia?
In January of 2002 I was playing in the city middle school basketball championship. After a long season of hard-fought city-wide competition with the only other middle school team in town, my Robertsville Rams were positioned to finish first in all of Oak Ridge if we could take down the Jefferson Eagles.
This was a huge game and the outcome was up in the air until the fourth quarter. Then Dude shut things down. Absolutely electric performance from me. Something like 30 points in the fourth quarter. Or maybe it was like eight. I can’t really remember. What I do remember about that flurry of 12-foot jump shots and finger-roll layups is that the high school coach took notice. He said something to my sister in class the following Monday—probably asked her if she could get him an autograph. But at the time it seemed like a big deal to me.
That’s what Sunday morning is going to be like for the luckiest of lucky Alabama coaches.
You see, the biggest question surrounding the SEC Championship on Saturday is not whether or not Alabama can win or to what degree the Crimson Tide rolls.
The real question is this: Who’s going to coach well enough to get called up from adorable little Alabama football program to the big leagues at the University of Georgia?
Conventional wisdom says Kirby Smart is in. Presumable the announcement is being held off so as to avoid distraction. But I can’t help but wonder if the formal announcement has been delayed because the higher-ups in Athens wonder if he’s really good enough.
And this, unfortunately, could create some unseemly sights for Florida fans. After all, every single Alabama coach (maybe even Saban) is going to be coaching his tail off for an opportunity to walk the sideline Between the Hedges.
You better believe every Alabama touchdown is going to be followed by a frantic Lane Kiffin looking nervously over his shoulder and covering his mouth with a play-card as he wonders allowed, “Did Greg McGarity see that? Please tell me he saw that. Think I should do it again? Of course I should do it again. Come on, Lane. You got this. Who’s the Lane? You’re the Lane. Go. Go. Go.”
Billy Napier’s pregame speech is likely going to be something along the lines of, “Guys. I have a real shot to be something. If things go right today, I might get to coach a real football team next fall. This moment is bigger than all of us. So all I can ask is that you go out there and win this one for me. Help me help myself.”
Strength coach Scott Cochran will be pacing the sideline barking motivation as if he’s already a Bulldog. “You’re strong! You. Are. Strong. Not Georgia strong. But you are strong nonetheless. Remember that! Strong! Muscles! Strength! Strong! GEOOOORGIA!”
And that’s the beauty of what Georgia has created in Alabama, it’s de facto junior college feeder school. Georgia’s going to find out real quickly on Saturday who turns pressure into diamonds and who turns pressure into burst pipes.
That’s all I got/