Alabama upsets top ranked Georgia in SEC Championship as playoff berth hangs in balance


The two-time defending national champions and the reigning SEC champions Georgia Bulldogs entered Saturday’s title game in Atlanta with a perfect regular season record.

The Bulldogs were the favorites to win this year’s SEC Championship, but, Nick Saban and the No. 8 Alabama Crimson Tide had other plans. 

Alabama defeated Georgia 27-24, creating potential chaos for the College Football Playoff committee.

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The Georgia Bulldogs prepares for play against the Alabama Crimson Tide defense during the third quarter in the SEC Championship at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 02, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe threw two touchdown passes and added 64 rushing yards to end Georgia’s 29-game winning streak.

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Saturday’s game marked the fourth matchup between Georgia and Alabama in the SEC title game. At some point in each of the past three games, the Bulldogs held a double-digit lead over the Tide. But, each time Alabama managed to rally and ultimately won all three games.

This time, Georgia did not take a double-digit lead at any point. However, the Bulldogs did score the first touchdown of the game and jumped out to a seven-point lead in the first quarter.

Alabama Crimson Tide player makes a catch

Isaiah Bond #17 of the Alabama Crimson Tide makes a catch against Tykee Smith #23 of the Georgia Bulldogs during the fourth quarter in the SEC Championship at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 02, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

A key moment happened in the second half, when Georgia quarterback Carson Beck’s hand-off to Daijun Edwards was misplayed. The ball fell to the turf and was recovered by Alabama.

The turnover led to an Alabama field goal.

Beck finished Saturday’s game with 243 passing yards. Senior running back Kendall Milton scored two touchdowns on 42 rushing yards.

Saban said overcoming deficits and finishing tough games has been his team’s modus operandi all year.

“It should be a lesson for everybody in life: Overcome adversity, man. If you have the ability to do that, you have a great chance to be successful,” Saban said after Alabama’s thrilling comeback over Auburn last week.

Saban benched Milroe earlier this season after he got off to a rocky start, but has bounced back to become one of the better quarterbacks in the nation. Milroe said the upset win should dispel any doubts about this year’s Crimson Tide team.

“A lot of people doubted this team,” Milroe said. “I never gave up on this team. That’s the biggest thing.”

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Only three teams have advanced to the College Football Playoff following a conference championship game lost. Georgia will certainly hope to be the fourth team to make it.

Both Georgia and Alabama now await their fate in the playoff, with the year’s final rankings being unveiled on Sunday.

Kirby Smart when asked about the Playoff makes his case by citing the eye test:

“Bill Hancock (CFP chairman) said it’s not the four most deserving. It’s the four best. If you’re in that committee room, and you’re telling me that that’s not one of the four best teams, then you’re in the wrong profession.”



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