Saturday, December 1

SEC Championship Pregame

I was going to write this before, but it wouldn’t exactly be a doubt as to how I’d preview the SEC Championship. It’s not exactly a surprise to know where I’m going to fall in this debate.

Of course, it’s also my team going against the team that I figured was in great position to win a national title. After my last running diary with the UK game, I think it’s fairly obvious that I will generally assume the worst when it comes to the Vols – and playing my initial national champions, my first instincts are something like a 17-point loss just like everyone else is predicting. I don’t know if it’s spite or something else, but would it be too much to give the Vols a chance here?

Everyone seems to automatically assume that Georgia should’ve won the SEC East and Tennessee is somehow infringing on the Bulldogs’ God-given right to play in the championship game – yet nobody remembers the giant egg they laid at Neyland Stadium. They take care of business there and we’re not sitting here wondering if Georgia can back their way into the national title game. If they win, they’re 11-1 and with a win over LSU they’re likely to get to the BCS Championship game. Of course, now they’re sitting at home watching the game. Enjoy the booze, guys.

Meanwhile, the Volunteers have been the cardiac kids of the SEC – emphasis on kids. Aside from Erik Ainge, most of the key components of this team will come back next year, and they’ve done a lot of growing up this year. Eric Berry has gone from a liability to a ball hawk; he’ll probably get Early Doucet as his assignment, which is going to be a key matchup. After the Alabama game (which joined the ’06 Arkansas and ’03 Georgia matchups as the only games I’ve willingly walked away from while the game was in progress), I figured it was only a matter of time until the Vols back into their typical mid-tier bowl. Still, they win an OT game over South Carolina that next week (and get a great win from – ironically – Georgia) and end up in the driver’s seat. They’ve managed to hang onto that, despite nearly blowing that South Carolina game and the game against Vandy (!). In between those games was a convincing win over Arkansas; that was Arkansas’s only loss between October 20th and the end of the season. Then there was the Kentucky game, which took about three years off my life expectancy.

On the other hand, nobody’s beaten LSU in regulation. But still. Don’t care. Everyone’s picking LSU to win this game big, but ….don’t care. Worst-case scenario is that everyone was right at this point. The best-case scenario is that we tell everyone to screw off. You bet your ass I’m hoping for the latter.