Staff Predictions for the 2015 SEC Championship Game
Alabama travels to Atlanta for its second consecutive SEC Championship Game appearance and will face the Florida Gators.
The Crimson Tide has a chance to become the first team to win back-to-back conference championships since Tennessee did it in 1997 and 1998. Oddmakers expect Alabama to win by 17 points but Nick Saban said this week that this is probably the "best overall team" they've played all season.
Will Alabama bring home its 25th SEC championship? Here's what our staff thinks:
Barry Sanderson (Host of Inside the Locker Room)
Depth and experience will be a huge factor in this game. Look for Alabama to pull away in the 2nd half. Alabama 27, Florida 10
Wimp Sanderson (Host of Inside the Locker Room)
Teams are trending in different directions. Look for Florida to struggle in kicking game. Alabama 35, Florida 12
Gary Harris (Host of The Gary Harris Show)
Florida's offense struggled down the stretch, and the prospect of having a big day against the Alabama defense doesn't look promising. After defeating Georgia 27-3, Florida scored 9 points against Vanderbilt, 24 against South Carolina, 20 against FAU (13 in regulation) and only 2 points, on a safety against Florida State. None of those defenses are as good as Alabama's. I'm predicting a shutout for the Tide! Alabama 27, Florida 0
Chris Stewart (Host of The Chris Stewart Show)
Ryan Fowler (Host of The Game)
If you are struggling on offense coming into a game against Alabama, that will only be magnified when you go up against Alabama’s defense. Florida’s defense is respectable, but if you run straight at them, you will have success and Alabama will. Florida’s defense will get worn down by their deficiencies on offense. Nick Saban will not run up the score against Mac. Alabama 31, Florida 7
Ryan McMunn (Producer)
This is the eighth time these two teams have met in the SEC Championship, with Alabama winning 3 of the 7 previous meetings with the conference championship on the line. The Tide will be looking to win their 25th SEC title, but will have to defeat their former offensive coordinator, Jim McElwain, in order to do so.
Florida's offense has been nearly non-existent over the past few weeks, as is evidenced by their poor performance against the Florida State Seminoles last week, scoring zero offensive points. Bama's defense is playing too well to allow many big plays and extended drives, so this game will get out of hand quickly, although it won't say so on the scoreboard. Alabama 27, Florida 7
Kevin Connell (Contributor)
Defensively, Florida ranks neck and neck with Alabama nearly across the board in the SEC, coming in at No. 2 just behind the Crimson Tide in total defense, scoring defense and rushing defense.
But that’s hardly the case on the other side of the ball.
While Alabama has one of the better offenses in the conference, Florida has one of the worst. In the SEC, the Gators are ahead of only Vanderbilt and Missouri in total offense, placing 104th overall nationally. They also rank just 10th in the SEC (92nd nationally) in scoring offense, with 25.3 points per game.
Historically, Alabama-Florida has made for a great SEC Championship Game, but it won’t this year unless the Gators suddenly find life on offense. Alabama 34, Florida 10
Ben George (Digital Managing Editor)
When I think of the SEC Championship Game, this is the matchup I envision. These two teams have met in this game more than any other duo in the conference. This is easily the most lopsided on paper, but Florida has a defense that can keep it in the game. However, It's difficult to envision the Gators being able to score enough points to beat the Crimson Tide. This probably won't be a game an offensive-minded football fan will enjoy. Alabama 27, Florida 6