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It is official, the National Championship will be decided in a rematch between No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama in the BCS title game in New Orleans. Alabama held off No. 2 Oklahoma State in the rankings even after the Cowboys defeated Oklahoma by a score of 44-10 on Saturday. Stanford and Oregon round out the top five of the BCS Standings.
Arkansas moves back up to No. 6 but are unlikely to receive an at-large bid to a BCS bowl. South Carolina moves into the top 10 at No. 9.
Here is a look at the Final BCS Rankings:
|BCS||Harris Poll||USA Today||Computer Rankings|
Tune into SB Nation's bowl-game StoryStream for up-to-minute updates on where teams are headed this holiday season.
The top four of both polls looks identical with LSU and Alabama claiming the top two spots while Oklahoma State and Stanford are No. 3 and No. 4. The Coaches poll has Oregon as the No. 5 team while USC rounds out the top five of the AP poll.
Virginia Tech drops to No. 11 in the coaches poll and all the way to No. 17 in the AP poll after losing to Clemson in the ACC Championship game.
Here is a look at the full coaches poll for Week 15:
Here is a look at this week's AP Top 25 Poll:
While things are shaky at the top of the BCS standings as to who will face off versus the LSU Tigers in the national championship game in New Orleans, things have become relatively crystal clear for the Georgia-based schools, based on the latest 2011 bowl projections.
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, all signs point to the boys from Atlanta making a trip down to El Paso, Texas to play in the Hyundai Sun Bowl. Their likely opponents will be the Utah Utes of the Pac-12, a 7-5 team who just missed out on playing on the conference championship.
For the Georgia Bulldogs, now 10-3, their valiant attempt at pulling off the upset versus LSU in the SEC title game was thoroughly squashed in the second half in a 42-10 loss. However, their reward for their successful 2011 turnaround season will likely be a New Years' Day bowl game. Georgia could look to face off versus the 10-3 Michigan State Spartans, who similarly lost in their conference title game versus Wisconsin on Saturday, in the Capital One Bowl game in Orlando.
UPDATE: Final BCS rankings are now out.
Georgia was able to hold its own through the first half but LSU's superior depth became apparent early in the second half as the Tigers simply wore down the Bulldogs. LSU scored 42 unanswered points in route to a 42-10 win over Georgia in the SEC Championship game and an eventual date in the BCS Title game.
The Bulldog defense put up a good effort with all things considered holding the Tigers without a first down in the first half. However, Georgia's offensive struggles in the second half led to some tough spots for the defense.
The offensive numbers aren't pretty on either side except for LSU's rushing numbers. Jordan Jefferson was but 5 for 13 for 30 yards in the game. Alfred Blue rushed eight times for 94 yards and a touchdown. Kenny Hilliard finished with 72 yards and three total touchdowns.
Aaron Murray struggled to find time in the pocket and finished 17 of 40 for 162 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Tavarres King caught three passes for 59 yards but only one in the second half. Ken Malcome ended up leading the team in rushing with 36 yards on five carries. Isaiah Crowell finished the game with 10 carries and 15 yards.
Since Georgia took a 10-0 lead, LSU has outscored the Bulldogs 28-0 to take a 28-10 lead into the final quarter of the SEC Championship game.
The Bulldog defense deserved a better fate as an offensive turnover and a big LSU punt return put them in bad situations to open the second half. Aaron Murray's fumble on Georgia's first possession of the half set LSU up with a short field. Two plays later, Kenny Hilliard scored from 15 yards out to give the Tigers their first lead at 14-10.
Georgia's next possession led to a punt which was returned 47 yards by Tyrann Mathieu to the Bulldogs 17 yard line. Hilliard scored his second touchdown of the game four plays later with a four yard run to extend LSU's lead to 21-10.
Desperately needing to make something happen, Georgia took a shot down the field on its next possession but Aaron Murray's pass was picked off by LSU cornerback Tharold Simon. That set up a 70 yard LSU drive that resulted in a Jordan Jefferson touchdown pass to Kenny Hilliard to extend the score to 28-10.
As good as Georgia's defense was in the first half, LSU's has been up to the task in the second. Four Bulldogs possessions in the third quarter yielded 26 total yards and two turnovers.
After Georgia controlled the first quarter, LSU's defense reestablished itself in the second as neither team's offense was able to move the football with any regularity. The only scoring in the second quarter came on a 62 yard punt return for a touchdown by the Tigers' Tyrann Mathieu. Georgia leads LSU 10-7 at halftime. Interestingly replay showed that Mathieu flipped the ball to the official moments before crossing the goal line.
Georgia's defense led by Alec Ogletree was dominant holding LSU to just 12 yards of total offense in the first half and no first downs. How dominant has the Bulldogs' defense been? Jordan Jefferson completed just two passes for seven yards while two different Tigers lead the team with seven yards rushing.
After a good start, Georgia's offense sputtered in the second quarter. Aaron Murray finished 10 of 23 in the first half for 114 yards and one touchdown. Carlton Thomas carried the ball four times for 26 yards while Isaiah Crowell has just 14 yards on nine carries. Tavarres King finished the first half with two catches for 52 yards.
The theme of the first half for the Bulldogs is missed opportunities. Georgia had chances to score touchdowns on both of their first two drives but were held to just a field goal.
Georgia pulled out all of the stops early and leads LSU 10-0 after one quarter of the SEC Championship game but it could have been much more for the Bulldogs if not for a couple of missed opportunities.
Stay tuned for Georgia-LSU score updates and conversation.
On Georgia's first drive, Tavarres King couldn't haul in a high pass from Aaron Murray that skipped of the tips of his fingers. The Bulldogs had to settle for a 40 yard Blair Walsh field goal on the drive.
On the kick off, Georgia surprised LSU with an onside kick that was recovered by the Bulldogs' Alec Ogletree. Georgia moved into LSU territory and missed another scoring opportunity when freshman receiver Malcolm Mitchell dropped what would have been a sure touchdown. Blair Walsh came on and missed the 45 yard attempt.
After another forced LSU punt, Murray guided the Bulldogs on a six play, 44 yard drive that resulted in a 12 yard touchdown pass to Aron White to extend the Bulldogs' lead to 10-0.
Georgia's defense has been the story of the first quarter holding LSU without a first down in their first three possessions and totaling only seven yards. Quarterback Jordan Jefferson did not complete any of his four pass attempts in the first. The Bulldogs out gained LSU 134-11 in the first quarter.
Carlton Thomas got the start for the Bulldogs at running back but Isaiah Crowell made his appearance on the Bulldogs second possession. He is clearly still hampered by an ankle injury and has limped his way off the field on two different occasions.
Georgia is out on the field warming up and at least part of the running back picture for the Bulldogs is becoming clearer. Marc Weiszer reports that Richard Samuel was on the field in a jersey but not in pads and doesn't appear to be playing in Saturday's SEC Championship game.
Tailback Richard Samuel (ankle) is on the field in jersey but not in pads. Looks like he's not going today. #UGA
Samuel had ankle surgery after the Bulldogs' win over Florida in Jacksonville. It was hoped by the coaching staff that he would be able to return for today's game.
Without Samuel available and with freshman Isaiah Crowell's status in doubt, Georgia may be left with trusting the tailback position to Carlton Thomas and Brandon Harton in the biggest game of the year.
As far as Russell Shepard is concerned, his LSU Tigers certainly aren't looking past Saturday's SEC Championship game against Georgia.
LSU and Shepard continue their quest for perfection against the Bulldogs but perhaps his tweet will serve as extra motivation for for a Georgia team that is already feeling disrespected.
Mark Richt hasn't talked much about his running back rotation for Saturday's SEC Championship game against LSU telling reporters once that he was "tired of talking about the tailbacks." Richt was asked once again on Saturdaymorning by ESPN's Tom Rinaldi about the running backs and in particular the status of freshman Isaiah Crowell.
ESPN's Tom Rinaldi asked Mark Richt about status of Isaiah Crowell today: "He'll be out there. He'll warm up. We'll see what happens." #UGA
Crowell suffered an ankle injury against Kentucky and did not play in the Bulldogs win over Georgia Tech. Due to Richt's silence on the subject, rumors have run rampant that Georgia's leading rusher could be suspended for Saturday's game but neither Richt nor Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity would confirm that.
Crowell is on the dress-out list for the game and participated in the Bulldogs' 15 minute walk through session at the Georgia Dome on Friday. All indications suggest that he will play but it appears that we will have to wait until kickoff to know for sure.
"We'll wait, we'll wait," "Let's call it a game-time decision. How about that?"
While Mark Richt was evasive while talking about his running backs rotation for Saturday's SEC Championship game against LSU, he did offer up some injury updates regarding two other Bulldogs.
Both running back Richard Samuel and defensive end DeAngelo Tyson are on the trip and will dress out for the game but whether they will play or not is up in the air.
"Whether or not they play, I don't know, Richt said. "If they do play, they'll be gutting it out."
Samuel had ankle surgery after Georgia's win over Florida and Tyson hurt his ankle in the Bulldogs' win over Georgia Tech. Athens Banner-Herald writer Marc Weiszer observed injured offensive lineman Dallas Lee "limping around" during the Bulldogs' media appearance at the Georgia Dome. While Lee practiced some this week, Weiszer said that it looked like he wouldn't be able to go.
On the LSU side of things, safety Eric Reid is considered as questionable with a bruised quadriceps.
The 2011 SEC championship game has plenty on the line for both the LSU Tigers and the Georgia Bulldogs. LSU is slotted for the BCS title game if they can win on Saturday and Georgia is looking to pull off a major upset and can head back to the Sugar Bowl for the first time since 2008.
Georgia has been quiet on the injury status of freshman running back Isiah Crowell's ankle and if will start on Saturday. Crowell did practice on Wednesday and Thursday and is probable to play. However, head coach Mark Richt is also saying that the starting running back will be a game day decision. Georgia will need all the offense they can get going up against LSU's defense which is No. 2 in the nation in yards and points allowed.
Game date, time: 4 p.m. ET on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011
Location: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Ga.
TV channel: CBS
Radio: Bulldog radio network.
Spread: LSU favored by 14 points.
With the injury status of star freshman RB Isaiah Crowell still unclear, Georgia coach Mark Richt was tight-lipped about the Bulldogs' running game headed into the SEC Championship Game against LSU on Saturday:
marcweiszer Marc WeiszerRicht said "I'm not telling," when asked who would start at tailback Saturday. "Gameday decision. How about that one? ...Bad answer I know."
Crowell, one of the most highly touted recruits in recent Georgia history, injured his ankle against Kentucky and did not play in the Bulldogs' victory over Georgia Tech last weekend.
The 5'11 215 RB has been a spark-plug for Georgia's offense, rushing for 832 yards on 4.8 yards a carry and scoring 5 TD's this season.
But against LSU, one of the most physical and athletic defenses in recent memory, Georgia will need Crowell's size to prevent their offense from becoming one-dimensional.
No matter who starts at RB, with an SEC Championship on the line, it's likely that Crowell will get a significant amount of playing time.
So Georgia's back in the conference title game for the first time in six years . . . now what? Our previewing duo explores the possibilities.
The freshman running back has been a sparkplug for UGA's offense so far this year, starting seven games for the Bulldogs while leading the team with 832 yards rushing with five touchdowns along with four 100 yards games to boot.
Crowell originally injured the ankle on his second carry from scrimmage against Kentucky back on Nov. 19, and did not play against Georgia Tech last week after favoring it in pre-game warmups. If the Bulldogs have any chance of taking out the Tigers, they will need Crowell suited up and ready to go at the Georgia Dome this Saturday.
The Georgia Bulldogs didn't exactly have their road to the SEC Championship Game paved with rainbows and kisses, but they did have about as accommodating a schedule as one could ever construct for an SEC team.
No games against the Alabama Crimson Tide, LSU Tigers, or Arkansas Razorbacks, not to mention only three games outside the state all year (if you count Jacksonville as being temporarily half-Georgia). LSU, meanwhile, has beaten Bama and West Virginia on the road, Arkansas at home, and Oregon sort of at home.
UGA's best win this year was over F/+ No. 34 Florida. LSU has beaten two top-five and three top-16 F/+ teams. This isn't to say Georgia can't win or that nobody can beat LSU. But we know exactly how good LSU is. Outside of that loss to Boise State and wins against Florida and Georgia Tech, it's still very hard to know what to make of the Dawgs.
So when Mark Richt's asked how these teams stack up after the paths they've taken, it's not entirely coachspeak for him to say he's not sure yet.
I really don't know. We're going to find out this Saturday.
We're a team that certainly improved as the season has gone on, and we've done a lot of good things since game two.
Until you play a team, you really don't know how you match up against them. I've spent most of the day watching them, mostly on defense. They're just very, very strong and quick and physical up front. The front seven is very, very tough, very athletic. Their DBs are very fast, great cover guys, guys with a lot of confidence, and they'll hit you. Everyone on that defense is going to hit you good.
I've seen enough film of them on offense as we watched other people's defense throughout the season, that they tend to wear people out by the end of the game. So once the resistance has been broken down a little bit their goal is to break the spirit of whoever they play. They've been successful most of the time.
The LSU Tigers are virtually assured of a spot in the BCS National Championship Game whether they beat the Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC Championship or not. Even if LSU loses, it'll still boast an unquestionable collection of kills, from the nation's best conference win (over Alabama) to the nation's best out-of-conference win (over Oregon).
While a Dawgs upset coupled with an Oklahoma St. Cowboys victory over the Oklahoma Sooners could somehow nudge the Alabama Crimson Tide out of that other spot in the title game, LSU technically doesn't have much to play for here, in realpolitik terms. Except that it's the SEC title.
Safety Brandon Taylor elaborates:
It is kind of weird. We don't look at it like that. That's kind of like a distraction to us because, if you win the SEC Championship, you get two rings, and that's what we've been playing for. It wouldn't feel as great going to the National Championship if you don't win the SEC Championship because we feel it's not right. We've just got to keep playing hard and win the SEC Championship because that's been one of our goals this year.
A UGA victory could mean three SEC teams in BCS games, if Bama can hang on to No. 2 through Bedlam.
Georgia's running game is expected to get a boost on Saturday with the return of freshman Isaiah Crowell to the lineup. Crowell missed last week's win against Georgia Tech and all but three plays against Kentucky with an ankle injury. Running backs coach Bryan McClendon said that Crowell has been a full participant in practice this week.
"I thought he looked good, he came out there and ran around good. He did everything in practice."
The news isn't as good for Richard Samuel who has missed the last four games after ankle surgery. Samuel didn't practice on Monday or Tuesday and is doubtful to play in the game on Saturday.
Defensive end DeAngelo Tyson hasn't practiced this week due to a sprained ankle but has not been ruled out of Saturday's game just yet. Defensive line coach Rodney Garner went so far as to call Tyson probable.
"I think there's a chance that we're going to get DeAngelo back," Garner said. "I'd say he's probable moreso than not.
Freshman offensive lineman Dallas Lee returned to practice this week after missing four games with a broken bone in his leg. Offensive line coach Will Friend said that there is a chance that Lee could play on Saturday.
The talk of being academically ineligible during the post-season for college football players is an issue across all college football programs. However, when a college football program is making a storied run at a national title and their quarterback could be compromised? Well, that's a different story altogether.
For the LSU Tigers, it has officially hit the point where the head coach has had to speak on it, which he did on Wednesday.
QB Jarrett Lee and other players may be ruled academically ineligible for postseason. "That is a yearly issue at all schools," Les Miles said. "This time of year everybody responds and comes back," he said. "It's time to pick it up. There's no difference with our football team. Academic issues are private in my mind."
Also, LSU athletic director Joe Alleva released a statement as well. Making the point that its not actually feasible for players to be ineligible when school hasn't finished yet.
"Despite media and message board speculation, no LSU student-athletes have been declared ineligible for post-season competition. The current semester is not complete and finals are still ahead, so it is grossly unfair to our student-athletes and it is both premature and irresponsible to speculate on the final grades and postseason eligibility of our student-athletes."
The Tigers will continue to deal with the focus on their grades and prepare on the practice field as they face the Georgia Bulldogs in the GeorgiaDome for the SEC Championship on Saturday.
With the league title bout upon us, it's time to blow up the myth of LSU's formidable schedule. [Yes, this is a joke.]
The line for Saturday's SEC Championship Game between Georgia and LSU is swinging wildly towards the Tigers. LSU opened as a 10 point favorite but the spread had grown to 14 points by Tuesday evening with plenty of time left before Saturday's game.
While Georgia is looking for some respect on Saturday, the Bulldogs could benefit from catching LSU looking ahead to the BCS title game. Many are predicting the Tigers as a lock for the title game regardless of the outcome of the SEC Championship. That didn't sit well with Georgia linebacker Christian Robinson who voiced his displeasure to ESPN.com.
"I'm not trying to start anything," he added. "But at the same time, this is the biggest game I've ever played in. This late in the season, playing the No. 1 team for something that matters, this is what we came here to do. I want to win, and I'm not taking it lightly."
Saturday's SEC Championship game may be for the SEC Championship but could have little impact on the National Title picture. Many experts are predicting that an LSU loss to the Bulldogs would not prevent the Tigers from playing in the BCS title game.
That line of thinking isn't sitting too well with the Georgia Bulldogs who are searching for just a little respect, particularly for its defensive unit. Linebacker Jarvis Jones doesn't understand why no one is talking about the Bulldogs' defensive unit.
"I mean, everybody praises LSU defense, but I know we've got a pretty good defense," Jones, the SEC sack leader, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "We're aggressive. We play just as well as them. A lot of people don't give us credit [for] how we play. I think we play two different styles."
"I think our defense is just as good as theirs, if not better," he added.
Safety Shawn Williams echoed Jones' claim about the Georgia defense.
Georgia safety Shawn Williams not shy when comparing his team's defense to LSU's: "I really do think we're better than they are.
Georgia will get its chance to earn respect on Saturday.
Reid is the Tigers third leading tackler on the season with 58 tackles. He's also brought in two interceptions and fumble recovery for the LSU defense this year. Reid has been dealing with a thigh injury suffered in the victory over Ole Miss two weeks ago. via theadvocate.com
"It appears that we will have Reid ready to play," Miles said at his weekly news conference. "He warmed up and really had every opportunity last week. We decided to hold him."
Alfred Blue is the Tigers third-leading rusher on the season with 70 carries for 445 yards and six touchdowns. Blue is dealing with an ankle injury and also didn't play last week against Arkansas, but LSU head coach Les Miles expects Blue to be in there this weekend against Georgia.
The Georgia Bulldogs could head into Saturday's SEC championship game against LSU without DE DeAngelo Tyson or TB Richard Samuel, according to Mark Richt. via Marc Weiszer of the Athens Banner-Herald.
Samuel hasn't carried the ball for Georgia since their October 29th against Florida, and with freshman running back Isiah Crowell probable for the game this weekend after missing the Georgia Tech game last weekend, the Georgia running game should be alright. Samuel has 240 yards rushing on a 3.3 yards per carry average with one touchdown this season for Georgia. He is dealing with an ankle injury.
Tyson has 20 tackles and 1.5 sacks for the Bulldogs so far this season. The 6'2 306lb senior has started 11 of the 12 games for Georgia and is also dealing with an ankle injury.
The Tigers and Bulldogs play for the SEC title Saturday afternoon at 4pm ET on CBS in Atlanta.
For more information and coverage on the Georgia Bulldogs visit SB Nation's Dawg Sports.
Despite dressing out and participating in warm ups, Georgia's freshman running back Isaiah Crowell missed the entire Georgia Tech game with an ankle sprain, a move made to keep the playmaker as healthy as possible for a date with LSU this Saturday in the SEC Championship.
Crowell participated in practice today, according to UGASports.com's Anthony Dasher. The freshman has been UGA's breakout star on offense this year, starting seven games and leading the team with 832 yards rushing with five TDs. Head coach Mark Richt told reporters Monday he expects Crowell to play barring any unforeseen setbacks this week in practice.
Starting quarterback Aaron Murray was a little bit more emphatic about Crowell's importance to the Bulldogs' offense, telling reporters Monday that Georgia will have to have a balanced offense to compete with LSU (quotes courtesy of the Washington Post):
"We like to keep things balanced," Murray said. "I mean, I’m not saying we’re going to go out there and pass the ball 40, 50 times a game. We want to be able to run the ball. We want to be able to chew up clock to keep our defense on the sidelines. I think we’ve been able to do that all year.
"We really want to be able to run the ball, and I think we need to be able to run the ball against LSU to get the victory and put some points on the board."
Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray, one of the country's finest young passers (No. 5 in passer rating among underclassmen) and already one of the best in UGA history (the new season touchdown record-holder), has a whale of a task ahead of him on Saturday. The LSU Tigers defense boasts more or less an entire secondary worth of NFL players, including one-man defensive offense Tyrann Mathieu, along with playmakers all across the defensive line.
Murray on what he's up against:
I have complete confidence in my O line. Those guys have done a great job all year. I think the biggest reason why we've been so successful on offense is those guys. They've given me plenty of time, and they've opened up huge running lanes for our running backs. Those guys, like I said, I trust them. Iknow they're going to go out there and do a goodjob for me.
Their defense, LSU, they're one of the best in the country. They have a lot of speed.You think of SEC defenses, you think of speed, and they have a whole other speed on top of that. They're very fast up front.
They get after the quarterback. They're one of the top defenses when it comes to sacks.
And their secondary, I mean, they have some of the best corners we'll probably face all year. We're going to have to make sure we're on our game and prepare extra hard this week.
LSU ranks No. 6 in passing defense despite playing opponents forced to pass for almost entire games. They rank No. 4 against the run, so chin up, Mr. Murray!
There aren't many great things about the SEC East, but the absolute worst is how seldom we get to read locally relevant Les Miles quotes. I'll just stand out of the way while the LSU Tigers coach answers questions about the SEC Championship Game's respective running back depth charts.
On Georgia's running back depth, which is hampered but expected to feature Isaiah Crowell:
We're going to prepare for their best, and certainly their guys who will be in will run the plays that are designed and that they've run before. I suspect that every able-bodied man will be ready and able to take a snap. I would think that they would be as healthy as they need to be to compete. So we're just watching their film, doing the things that they've done in the past irrespective of who carries the ball.
On LSU's running back depth, which is endless:
We're going to do the things that we do, and we're going to challenge that very capable Georgia defense. The need to have a variety of backs allows a fresh ball carrier. I think it's a mistake to fatigue your ball carrier. So we're going to keep fresh legs in the game, and we're going to continue to do the things that we do. See how it plays out.
The need to have a variety of backs! I suspect that every able-bodied man! So great!
As expected, LSU opened as a 10 point favorite over Georgia in the SEC Championship Game and then saw the line quickly move to 11.5 points as it stands currently.
The Bulldogs enter Saturday's game at the Georgia Dome riding a 10 game winning streak after dropping their first two games of the season. This will be their second game in the Georgia Dome this season having fallen to Boise State in the season opener. LSU has won 12 straight and is undefeated and currently atop both the AP poll and the USA Today coaches poll.
Georgia is 8-4 this season against the spread and have covered four of their last five games. LSU comes in at 9-3 against the number and have also covered four of their last five. Interestingly, the Kentucky Wildcats covered against Both Georgia and LSU in the last three weeks. The difference was Georgia won a 19-10 struggle and LSU won 42-9 over the Wildcats.
The 2011 SEC Championship Game will pit Georgia against LSU in the Georgia Dome on Dec. 3.
Georgia has punched their ticket to the SEC Championship game but their opponent remains a mystery heading into the final week of the season.
Who woulda thunk the Georgia Bulldogs would peel off nine straight wins to take the SEC East title after dropping their first two of the year? No matter how ugly a win it was against the Kentucky Wildcats, Mark Richt's Dawgs have earned their first SEC Championship appearance since 2005.
The season started in the Georgia Dome, with a loss to the Boise St. Broncos, and will now include a second stop. The No. 1 LSU Tigers look like the likely foe, giving the Dawgs a chance to play national spoiler, but the Arkansas Razorbacks and Alabama Crimson Tide aren't out of the running just yet. LSU plays Arkansas to conclude the regular season, and a Hogs victory could mean BCS standings dictate UGA's opponent.
Not bad for a hot seat, huh?
The SEC title game is set for Dec. 3 in Atlanta.