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If Alabama beats Georgia and Notre Dame, no one can say the Tide didn’t earn it, despite an upset loss to Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M.

“There is a lot more pressure, but that is what we like,” running back Eddie Lacy said. “You come to Alabama to be in situations like this and play in games like this.”

The SEC finalists are remarkably similar on paper.

_ Georgia’s Aaron Murray is the nation’s top-rated passer, just ahead of Alabama’s AJ McCarron.

_ The Crimson Tide has a dynamic running back duo with Lacy (1,001 yards, 14 touchdowns) and freshman T.J. Yeldon (847 yards, 10 TDs). So does Georgia with a pair of freshmen, Todd Gurley (1,138 yards, 14 touchdowns) and Keith Marshall (720 yards, eight TDs.)

_ Each squad has lost a couple of key receivers to injuries.

_ Alabama leads the nation in points allowed (9.2 per game) and total defense (233.7 yards). Georgia has been just as stout since senior safety Shawn Williams called out his defensive teammates before a big game against Florida, accusing them on playing “soft.” Over the last five weeks, the Bulldogs have surrendered just 43 points.

“This matchup is right on,” Georgia receiver Tavarres King said. “These are two great teams, two physical teams, that get after it every Saturday. It should be a fun game.”

Alabama has played in plenty of epic contests over the last five years, and coach Nick Saban is one of the best at preparing his players for these sort of pressure-packed settings.

In fact, from the way the Crimson Tide was talking all week, this is no big deal.

“Just another game,” McCarron said. “That’s the biggest thing everyone just needs to remember. Don’t make the game bigger than what it is. Just another Saturday.”

This is still rather new for the Bulldogs.

Over Murray’s first two seasons as the starting quarterback, Georgia failed to beat a team in the Top 10. That steak continued in the only loss this season, a 35-7 blowout at South Carolina. But a 17-9 victory over then-No. 3 Florida propelled the Bulldogs to the top of the SEC East, and a favorable schedule helped keep them there.

“Before that Florida game, nobody thought we could win a big game,” Robinson said. “Well, we did that. So we can mark that off and go on to something else _ winning a championship.”

This game will likely be decided in the trenches, especially by the performance of Georgia’s young offensive line.

Story Continues →