The Game That Means Everything

Cancel all your plans for Saturday afternoon.

Eliminate office parties.

Tell your relatives to re-schedule that holiday gathering.

Put off your monthly dinner with your sister.

Just go with me for a second here.

Holiday shopping can wait, the weather will be lousy and everyone needs to see the absolute incredible display of sport that will take place at the Georgia Dome.

The Florida Gators, ranked number one in the Bowl Championship Series, enter the SEC Championship Game as the defending conference champions. Florida hasn’t lost a game since last September. They are the defending national champions and have the most recognizable player in the history of the conference behind center.

A likely nominee for the Heisman Trophy, Tim Tebow can do everything you can’t accomplish. He’s already won the Heisman Trophy as a sophomore (the first ever in the history of the sport), helped win both BCS National Championship Games he’s been involved and won more awards that you can possibly imagine. The ultimate team player, Tebow is best known for his inspirational speech after the Mississippi last year in which he didn’t throw any of his teammates under the bus, but pledged that he would work as such a rapid rate to become the best team in college football. He’s successful in everything he accomplishes, which brings equal parts followers and haters.

The Alabama Crimson Tide, ranked number two in the BCS rankings, roll into Atlanta as the perennial underdog to take down the mighty Gators. They’ve only lost one regular season game in the last two seasons – against Florida in an outstanding title game last season. Once again, ‘Bama lands on the doorstep of a possible BCS Championship appearance. With a possible Heisman candidate in their backfield, the Crimson Tide survived two close calls in conference play to finish the regular season undefeated. Still, that means very little to Alabama fans and players. They want to crush Florida on Saturday. This vibrant and enthusiastic fan base wants blood on Saturday afternoon.

I’ve been thinking about how this game unfolds for the last month and I’ve come up with something of a guarantee. Like everyone else, I have no earthly clue on what will happen in Atlanta. My best guess is that Florida takes a big lead early and hangs on for a narrow win in an instant classic. Then again, I can easily see the Crimson Tide run the ball down Florida’s throat. It’s a tough game to predict. These teams are just that good.

The wonderful college coach Woody Hayes once asked a rhetorical question to his team, “Do you know who we play this week?” In typical Hayes fashion, with his voice squeaking and eyes bulging, he responded to his own question. “It’s Michigan. We’re playing Michigan!” That may not mean a bunch to a lot of people, but football historians understand the meaning of a big time game.

This Saturday’s SEC Championship game is something to get excited about wherever you watch the game. As they say in the South, it will be a big time in Atlanta.

Yell after a fumble, delight in a touchdown or just revel in the absolute beauty of sport played at its highest level.

Get ready for goose bumps when Verne Lundquist welcomes you to the Georgia Dome.

Kickoff is right around the corner.

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