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SEC Championship: Position analysis favors Tide

Bruising Bama back Eddie Lacy will challenge Georgia's defensive line, which has not been effective against the run this year . (Alabama Athletics Communications) Bruising Bama back Eddie Lacy will challenge Georgia's defensive line, which has not been effective against the run this year . (Alabama Athletics Communications)
Jarvis Jones, shown clobbering a Georgia Tech runner, is the hub of the Georgia defense. (Source: Wes Blankenship) Jarvis Jones, shown clobbering a Georgia Tech runner, is the hub of the Georgia defense. (Source: Wes Blankenship)
Alabama freshman T.J. Yeldon saved the day with this fourth quarter TD reception against LSU. (Alabama Athletic Communications) Alabama freshman T.J. Yeldon saved the day with this fourth quarter TD reception against LSU. (Alabama Athletic Communications)
Georgia freshman running back Todd Gurley has gained more than 1,100 yards this year. (Source: Wes Blankenship) Georgia freshman running back Todd Gurley has gained more than 1,100 yards this year. (Source: Wes Blankenship)
Alabama LB C.J. Mosley has been named an All-American, but he hasn't started every game for the Tide, which uses different combinations of linebackers based on the defense. (Source: Alabama Athletic Communications) Alabama LB C.J. Mosley has been named an All-American, but he hasn't started every game for the Tide, which uses different combinations of linebackers based on the defense. (Source: Alabama Athletic Communications)
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    (Source: University of Alabama)(Source: University of Alabama)

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    (Source: WBRC video)(Source: WBRC video)

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    Source: University of Alabama AthleticsSource: University of Alabama Athletics

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(RNN) - Offensively, Alabama and Georgia both feature efficient if not flashy quarterbacks, steady if not high-profile receivers and a pair of running backs anyone would love to have.

The breakdown:

Quarterback:

Georgia – Aaron Murray is the most efficient quarterback in the nation (177.15), second in the SEC in passing touchdowns (30), fourth in completion percentage (66.6) and fourth in yards (3,201). He was a preseason Heisman Trophy candidate and likely a first round NFL draft choice one day.

Alabama – A.J. McCarron is the second-most efficient quarterback in the nation (176.26), third in the SEC in passing touchdowns (25), third in completion percentage (67.2) and tied for the fewest interceptions of any starter in the nation. He also played his way into the Heisman conversation and led the Crimson Tide to a national championship last season.

Advantage: Alabama. Both have gotten their teams to the postseason before, but only McCarron has won, and it was on college football's biggest stage.

Wide receiver/tight end:

Georgia – Tavares King is a consistent, dangerous receiver. King has 34 receptions for 704 yards and eight passing TDs. Arthur Lynch has 18 catches from the TE position for 344 yards.

Alabama – Freshman Amari Cooper is the best receiver between the two teams, but the Tide's run-first approach hasn't produced a consistent performer from this position. Christion Jones and Michael Williams are reliable short yardage targets.

Advantage: Georgia. With the injury to Kenny Bell, Alabama's depth took a slight hit. Ten players have caught a touchdown pass for Georgia.

Running back:

Georgia – Freshman phenoms Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall have filled the void left by Isaiah Crowell, combining for 1,858 yards and 22 touchdowns. Gurley is the SEC's leading rusher among running backs and third in the SEC in yards per carry. Marshall is first in yards per carry. Both are a threat to score from anywhere on the field.

Alabama – Eddie Lacy and freshman T.J. Yeldon have combined for 1,848 yards and 24 touchdowns. Yeldon is second in the SEC in yards per carry and Lacy is one of the toughest backs to bring down in the nation. Each brings a different style and pace, and both are lethal in the red zone.

Advantage: Alabama. Everything the Tide does on offense revolves around its running game, and Georgia is 11th in the SEC against the run. Lacy and Yeldon are both dynamic receivers out of the backfield, making 28 total receptions for 296 yards and two touchdowns. Neither Georgia back has a receiving touchdown, and Lacy alone has gained more receiving yards than Gurley and Marshall combined.

Offensive line:

Georgia – The Bulldogs' offensive line has endured injuries and criticism this season, and is the weakest unit on the team, though it is still one of the better lines in the SEC. Georgia is fifth in the conference in sacks allowed.

Alabama – The Crimson Tide's line has been of little concern – although they wore down a little toward the end of the season – and is fourth in the SEC in sacks allowed. Barrett Jones and Chance Warmack entered the year as All-Americans.

Advantage: Alabama. This is the only area where the Tide has a clear advantage. Jones won the Outland Trophy last year and is a finalist for the award again, despite moving from left tackle to center.

Kicker:

Georgia – Marshall Morgan is 8-for-12 on field goals and 54-for-58 on PATs. From 40 yards and further, Morgan is 3-for-6. He has missed one kick shorter than 40 yards. His longest field goal is 52 yards.

Alabama – Jeremy Shelley hasn't missed a kick of any kind all season (60-for-60 on PATs and 10-for-10 on field goals, all shorter than 40 yards). Cade Foster, who kicks from 40 yards and further, is 4-for-8. Foster's longest field goal is 52 yards.

Advantage: Alabama. The Tide has come a long way from last year's regular season loss to LSU when Shelley and Foster combined to miss four field goals.

Defensively, Georgia has more standout talent at defensive positions than Alabama does, but Alabama is better as a unit. 

Defensive backfield:

Alabama: Dee Milliner is the most active player on the Alabama defensive side with 16 broken passes and 18 pass deflections to go with a pair of interceptions, a fumble recovery and four tackles for loss. Alabama has a wealth of talent at safety, rotating Robert Lester, Vinnie Sunseri, HaHa Clinton-Dix and Nick Perry. UA has allowed just 156 yards per game passing and six passing TDs.

Georgia: All-American S Bacari Rambo is fourth on the tackle chart desipte missing four games this year. He has 59 stops. CB Sanders Commings had two INTs against Tennessee to earn SEC defensive honors. SS Shawn Williams is the second-leading tackler on the team with 78. UGA allows 174 yards per game passing and 10 TDs.

Advantage: Alabama, ever so slightly. The Crimson Tide is deeper, even though it struggled against LSU and Texas A&M when both QBs had a great day – but Bama only allowed 17 points against LSU. That doesn't mean Georgia can't create problems for the Alabama pass game, and how well they disrupt it will make a big difference.

Linebackers:

Georgia: The defense revolves around Jarvis Jones, the SEC sack leader who has 19.5 tackles for loss and is one of the best LBs in the nation. Alex Ogletree has 87 tackles and manhandled Georgia Tech last week. Jordan Jenkins, Amarlo Herera and Michael Gilliard are key players in Georgia's attack-style defense that will challenge the Bama OL.

Alabama: Nick Saban likes to run a committee of LBs and moves them around as the opposing offense dictates – leading tackler C.J. Mosley isn't even a full-time starter. UA has a wealth of talent, more depth than Georgia, but no dominating presence the likes of past greats Rolando McClain or Courtney Upshaw – or Jones of Georgia.

Advantage: Georgia. The pure talent is startling, and the Bulldogs have two players in Jones and Ogletree who can blow up a game plan single-handedly.

Defensive Line:

Georgia: Nose guard John Jenkins, 6-3, 358, is a beast, and much will depend on who wins his clash with Bama center Barrett Jones. He's backed by Kwame Gaithers, who is also a big, powerful presence. Garrison Smith has been particularly effective at DE the past two games.

Alabama: Jesse Williams is Jenkins' counterpart on the Bama side and, along with ends Ed Stinson and Damion Square, are big reasons why Alabama's LBs total so many tackles. The group has been all but impossible to run on.

Advantage: Alabama has been more consistent and delivered solid performances against everybody but Johnny Manziel, who nobody has been able to contain. How Georgia's inconsistent OL manages these guys will go a long way toward whether the Bulldogs can stay in this game. Georgia ranks 11th against the run in the SEC.

Coach:

Georgia: Since taking over at the UGA program in 2001, Mark Richt won two SEC titles in 2002 and 2005. He's dominated the SEC East, winning five times. His teams have been to the Sugar Bowl three times and have been ranked third nationally twice at the end of the year.

Alabama: Nick Saban has won two national championships at Alabama, one at LSU. He's the best coach in the college game right now.

Advantage: Alabama.

Copyright 2012 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

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    (Source: TheBigSpur.com)(Source: TheBigSpur.com)

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    (Photo: Ryan Bethea, 247Sports)(Photo: Ryan Bethea, 247Sports)

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