Vince Dooley liks UGA's chances

Predicting the championship games

A panel of college football experts, and one fan familiar to Atlanta residents, provided their predictions for the SEC championship game, and if that winner will go on to beat Notre Dame for the national championship:

Who will win the SEC?

Alabama will win the SEC championship. The Crimson Tide has the best offensive line in the country and will wear Georgia down over the course of the game. Alabama will also come up with something new to make the Georgia quarterback uncomfortable.

Will they go on to win the national championship?

The winner of the SEC championship game will go on to win the conference’s seventh straight national championship. Notre Dame has been living on the edge all season long. It has not seen a defense anything close to the one it will face in the BCS Championship game.

Tony Barnhart

CBS Sports

Who will win the SEC?

Georgia is going to win. I’ve had Alabama several times and I think there are great players on their defense, like they’ve always had, but they are NFL players and not No. 1 draft choices like they have had. Georgia matches up well with them on defense, from (Kwame) Geathers and (John) Jenkins up front to (Jarvis) Jones and (Alec) Ogletree. This is going to be manly football. Both teams can run downhill. They have balance with two smart quarterbacks. I think Georgia is playing as well as any team in the country right now. It’ll be close.

Will they go on to win the national championship?

Notre Dame has surprised me all season. Their quarterback has grown up so much. Their front seven is like an SEC defense. Their offense is coming around, but I’ll stick whoever comes out of the Georgia Dome as the favorite to win it all. It’s going to be a great game. I’d take Alabama or Georgia by six over Notre Dame.

Brad Nessler

ESPN

Who will win the SEC?

Alabama has a better coach, better quarterback, better offensive line and better defense. Look at the worst moments for each team this season — the Tide loses in the final seconds to maybe the Heisman Trophy winner and that’s pretty much it. Georgia gives up 44 to a team that would later fire its coach. They also surrendered 24 points to a Kentucky team that couldn’t score on anybody this season and also fired its coach. This is a pretty easy game to predict.

Will they go on to win the national championship?

Nick Saban is willing to play whatever game you want, as long as he comes out the winner. Notre Dame will want it to be a wrestling match, all about who’s tougher and physically stronger, because that’s how they’ve won 12 straight this season. It won’t work against Alabama. Tide by 10, maybe 14.

Chuck Oliver

680AM

Who will win the SEC?

Alabama had its hiccup. I can’t imagine another, even though I think Georgia is the Tide’s only conference peer in terms of talent on both sides of the ball. Bama played awful Auburn last week, Western Carolina the week before that. Georgia has been on its mind for a while. It won’t slip with a direct shot at another title on the line. No (A.J.) McCarron magic necessary. Tide steadily pull away, win 28-17.

Will they go on to win the national championship?

Oregon, all along, was the team outside the league that I thought had the best shot at Alabama. In a one-game scenario, I thought the speed could potentially win out. The Ducks, though, will be in the Fiesta Bowl. Notre Dame has had a wonderful season, a magical 12-0 run. I saw two of their biggest wins, at Oklahoma and USC. But it’s going to come to an end if Nick Saban has four weeks to prep for that Irish offense, forcing the action into a redshirt freshman quarterback’s hands. Everett Golson ain’t Johnny Manziel. Tide wins, 23-13. Seven in a row for the SEC.

Travis Haney

ESPN.com national cfb writer/ESPN Insider

Who will win the SEC?

I like Alabama in by a narrow margin over Georgia. Mark Richt has done a marvelous job this year of getting Georgia in this position. However, I think Alabama thrives in this spot and in the spotlight.

Will they go on to win the national championship?

I think Bama will meet Notre Dame and beat them handily. Still, I think the lead up to the game will be bigger than anything we have seen in recent history.

Paul Finebaum

Paul Finebaum Radio Network

Who will win the SEC?

After seeing Georgia twice this season they have all the components necessary to beat Alabama: huge/physical front seven, play-making secondary, veteran quarterback and balanced offense. However, I just cannot trust the offensive line enough to pull the trigger and go with the underdog (no pun intended). Alabama in a physical affair wins with their defensive play at the line of scrimmage.

Will they go on to win the national championship?

Predictions a month away are a difficult bet, especially with injuries playing a critical role. Bama is battle-tested and has been down this road before with handling lengthy delays and big game preparations. That experience and insight could prove to be just enough to overcome the luck of the Irish.

Brock Huard

ESPN

Who will win the SEC?

Georgia will find a way to beat Alabama in the Georgia Dome. The Bulldogs are playing with a lot of momentum and energy on defense. It will ultimately come down to Georgia’s ability to protect quarterback Aaron Murray and whether he takes care of the football. Georgia’s defense can slow down Alabama’s running game and get pressure on A.J. McCarron.

Will they go on to win the national championship?

Georgia or Alabama are good enough on defense to shut down Notre Dame’s running game, which would force Irish quarterback Everett Golson to make a lot of plays. It won’t be a rout — the Irish defense is better than you think — but the Irish aren’t equipped to handle the strength and speed of an SEC defense.

Mark Schlabach

ESPN

Who will win the SEC?

Alabama will win the football game. The experience of winning two of the last three BCS titles and a quarterback (A.J. McCarron) that has played in big-time games will lead them to win the SEC.

Will they go on to win the national championship?

Alabama will win because they play defense just as good as anybody and the play-making ability they have on offense with a quarterback that has played well in big games, two good running backs (Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon) and strong, physical offensive line.

Tim Couch

Fox Sports South

Who will win the SEC?

Georgia. Their defense is playing exceptional right now. They are just as talented as Alabama and have really come together as a team since losing to South Carolina.

Will they go on to win the national championship?

I think Notre Dame will win the national championship. Their defense has been great all season and are just too difficult to score on. I like how Golson has progressed and the running game has been solid. It’s been a magical season for Notre Dame and I think it will continue.

Brian Jones

CBS Sports Network

Who will win the SEC?

Georgia. They have an athletic defensive front that will likely cause the same type of problems for Alabama’s offensive line like they faced against Texas A&M, only to a greater degree.

Will they go on to win the national championship?

Yes, the Bulldogs will be the most balanced and sophisticated offensive attack that Notre Dame has faced all year.

Spencer Tillman

CBS Sports studio analyst

Who will win the SEC?

UGA is going to win it, man. We are going to upset these guys in the SEC Championship and we are going to take care of business in the National Championship. Enough said. I’m a Bulldog Nation. Bulldog Nation all the way. For real. You can quote me.

Hawks forward Josh Smith

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