No. 1 Alabama and No. 7 Florida will get together for their 10th meeting in the SEC Championship Game, the most times two teams have met in a league title game. The Crimson Tide are coming off of a resounding victory over Arkansas and can polish off a perfect regular season with a win over the Gators. Quarterback Mac Jones, wide receiver DeVonta Smith and running back Najee Harris are all squarely in the mix for the Heisman Trophy, and their defense has evolved into one of the SEC’s best.
The Gators, on the other hand, are a mess. At least they were last week when they fell to a lowly LSU team, likely costing them a shot at the College Football Playoff. Quarterback Kyle Trask is in the Heisman Trophy race as well, and he’s going to have to have a career night in order to slay the dragon and claim the SEC title. Hopefully helping him will be star tight end Kyle Pitts, who is supposed to be back after missing the lsat game.
The last few times these two have met on the field, it has not been particularly close. Alabama has won six straight against Florida and each game has been decided by 14 points or more. The last time they met, the 2016 SEC Championship Game, the Crimson Tide romped past the Gators 54-16. Will history repeat itself on Saturday night or will Florida shock the world and shake up the College Football Playoff race?
Event: SEC Championship Game
Date: Saturday, Dec. 19 | Time: 8 p.m. ET
Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium — Atlanta
Julian Edelman’s recent retirement has sparked passionate conversations about his future Hall of Fame candidacy. Edelman’s detractors point to his zero Pro Bowls and underwhelming regular-season stats. His supporters point to his laundry list of postseason accolades.
While Edelman won’t be eligible for the Hall of Fame until 2026, there are a slew of eligible former players who are still waiting for their call to Canton, Ohio. Many deserving players have been passed over because they played for a small market team; other players were overshadowed by more celebrated teammates. For whatever the reason, there are numerous deserving players who may never receive a bronze bust and a gold jacket.
With that in mind, we decided to put together a list of the 25 best NFL players who are not in the Hall of Fame. Exactly 40% of the list is comprised of linebackers and receivers, while only one quarterback was able to crack our top 25.
Alabama: It’s nearly impossible to find a weakness on this Crimson Tide team. They boast three, that’s right, THREE Heisman Trophy candidates in quarterback Mac Jones, wide receiver DeVonta Smith and running back Najee Harris. The offensive line was recently named as a semifinalist for the Joe Moore Award, which is given to the nation’s top offensive line. The defense, which was a bit of a concern early this season, has given up just 4.09 yards per play and 270 yards per game during the month of December.
The only question facing the Tide heading into this game is if their three Heisman candidates will steal each other’s votes and allow a player from another team to win the sport’s most prestigious individual award. After all, coach Nick Saban’s crew could get blown out by the Gators and would probably still make the CFP.
Florida: Last weekend had to be one of the most demoralizing losses in Florida history. Anything that could go wrong did, from Marco Wilson’s shoe toss to the longest field goal in LSU history in a blinding fog. It’s absolutely critical that the Gators hit the reset button and focus on what former coach Steve Spurrier used to call a “ring game.”
If they’re going to win that ring, it’ll be on quarterback Kyle Trask to get the job done. The Gators’ offensive line is a mess and they haven’t been able to get the ground game going all season. Trask has been awesome, but that has been by necessity, not choice.
Alabama vs. Florida prediction
Not only is Alabama going to beat Florida, it’s going to beat it like a drum. I’m talking about the victory lap of all victory laps. Florida was going to have an issue anyway considering the best way to slow down the Tide offense is to have a strong running game, which would keep Mac Jones. and Co. on the sideline. Florida isn’t that team. Throw in the hangover from the LSU loss, and this is going to get ugly. Pick: Alabama (-17)