The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

November 26, 2012

Bama-UGA gearing up for latest huge SEC title game

— Alabama coach Nick Saban finds plenty to like about competing in a league where the champion has a near-automatic reservation to the BCS national title game.

That's the case again for Saturday's Southeastern Conference championship game between the second-ranked Crimson Tide and No. 3 Georgia. The winner advances to meet No. 1 Notre Dame with a chance to keep the national championship in the SEC for a seventh straight year.

And the loser? Well, that team might be shut out of the BCS picture because No. 5 Florida is in line to grab that spot. Saban is less thrilled about that prospect — another side effect of playing in the SEC.

"For either one of these teams, it's not really a great scenario," Saban said on a conference call Sunday. "You play your way into the championship game, which means you're the best team in your division. They're the best team in their division. They played their way into the game by a total body of work for the whole season. It doesn't seem quite right, but it is what it is.

"I don't really know what me commenting about it is going to do to change it, but I don't feel good about it for our football team or their football team."

Then again, he wasn't complaining when the Tide (11-1, 7-1) landed in the BCS title game against LSU last season without winning the West.

The Bulldogs (11-1, 7-1) rebounded from a 35-7 loss at South Carolina on Oct. 6 to win the East for the second straight season.

Georgia coach Mark Richt said he doesn't want his team getting caught up in the stakes and magnitude of the game.

"All you can do is get your staff and your team as prepared as possible to go play a game," Richt said. "That's what we're going to do. If you think about what the game means, this that and the other, it doesn't really help you win the game. The only thing that helps you win the game is preparation and getting your mind ready to go to battle. That's what you've got to do.

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