SEC Championship the next chapter in fight for college football supremacy
On Saturday, the No. 8 Alabama Crimson Tide (11-1, 8-0 SEC) faces the top-ranked and undefeated Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC Championship, and a lot more than just a conference title and a berth in the College Football Playoff are on the line.
So, too, is the largely unofficial title of being the sport's dynastic power, a crown long held by the Tide but one recently claimed by Georgia with their back-to-back national championships.
Alabama first took the top-program status in the seasons following Nick Saban's first title with the Tide in 2009. After a 10-win 2010 season, Alabama won titles again in 2011 and 2012, only being denied a chance at a three-peat by the infamous "Kick Six" at Auburn.
Outside of a few premature "the dynasty is dead" proclamations, Alabama has won three titles since then, most recently in 2020, and Saban has cemented his place as the greatest to coach at the college level.
But all things must pass, and for the Alabama dynasty, many thought that end was the 2021 season, when Alabama downed Georgia in the SEC Championship only to fall in a rematch in the national title game. Georgia followed up that national championship with a perfect 15-0 season, including a 65-7 beatdown of TCU in the title game for the 2022 season.
Georgia hasn't lost a game since that 2021 SEC Championship, but if Alabama pulls off an upset over the five-point-favorite Bulldogs on Saturday, many will likely argue that Alabama has maintained or reclaimed its grip on the college football crown, depending on your perspective.
But if Georgia wins, and especially if the Bulldogs go on to win the playoff, there will be no doubt who the top dog of college football is.
After all, even Saban couldn't pull off the three-peat, and if Kirby Smart and the Dawgs go through Saban to do it, it will be hard to argue that it's anything but a coronation for the new king of the sport.
Story by Cameron Kiszla, Yardbarker