Two of the Top 25 teams in the nation will meet for the upcoming SEC Championship Game 2016. For the latest edition, it will feature the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide and the No. 15 Florida Gators going head-to-head to determine the best squad in the Southeastern Conference this season. Can the Gators upset the top team in the nation ahead of the College Football Playoffs, or will Bama continue to roll over their opposition? Here's a look at the latest game information before this huge matchup in the NCAA takes place.
Alabama comes to this matchup ranked first in college football polls and seems pretty much a lock to take the top spot in the playoffs after the season. They've extended their record to 12-0 overall and 8-0 in the conference following their 30-12 win over Auburn this past Saturday. According to ESPN in their post-game report, Crimson Tide QB Jalen Hurts finished with 286 yards despite two early interceptions in the contest. He's said by some analysts to have cracked the top five for Heisman candidates. In addition, Alabama's defense came up big, holding the Tigers to a total of just 182 yards of total offense for the game.
The Florida Gators came up on the losing side in their matchup on Saturday. The Gators fell to in-state rival Florida State by a final of 31-13. The Gators, who are 8-3 overall and 6-2 in the SEC East managed just 205 yards of offense for the game. However, they are 6-2 overall which is the top record in the SEC East, as Tennessee, Kentucky, and Georgia all have 4-4 records. That gives them the matchup for the championship. Now they'll have to play probably their best game of the season, and then some, if they stand a chance at the upset over the top squad from the SEC West.
Florida has been led this season by quarterback Luke Del Rio who has racked up 1,358 yards and eight touchdowns this season. Running back Jordan Scarlett has led the ground effort with 154 carries for 778 yards and six touchdowns. The team ranks fifth in the nation in defense, with more on that later. They'll need that defense to come up big when they meet with Alabama this coming weekend.
The two teams will meet for the 2016 SEC Championship for their 10th time, with the game to take place at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia. The latest matchup is set for Saturday, December 3, 2016, with a start time of 4 p.m. Eastern Time. CBS will provide the live telecast around the nation, while live streaming will be available through the CBS All Access subscription-based service. This online service is available on a free one-week trial basis for all new subscribers which makes a great free way to enjoy the SEC Championship live stream.As of this report, Vegas Insider was offering early odds for various college football games that are coming up. The point spread on the SEC Championship 2016 game opened at 21 points in favor of the Crimson Tide. Since it first opened, it's moved up to as much as 23 and a half points in favor of Alabama with the over/under points total yet to be made available. It should be noted that Bama has won three of the last four meetings in the championship game between the two schools.
So do the Gators even stand a chance of pulling off an upset over the top-ranked team? According to AL, there are mostly disparities when it comes to how the two teams compare in various stats categories. For example, when it comes to total offense, Bama is No. 23 with 492.2 yards per game, while Florida is 114th in the nation, averaging 352.7 yards a game. The Crimson Tide put up 39.4 points a game which is 19th in the country, while Florida's 24 points per game has them at No. 104 overall.
Alabama sports the nation's best rushing defense, allowing opponents just 68.7 yards on the ground per game. Florida is 30th in that category with 133.6 yards allowed per game to their opponents. However, the Gators outrank Bama when it comes to passing defense. The Gators allow 158 yards per game and are No. 3 in that category. The Crimson Tide allow 178.1 yards a game are 11th in the nation. Florida also has a turnover margin of +4 which is No. 35 overall compared to a +2 margin for Alabama, which is No. 52.
Both teams have managed to limit their opponents in scoring this season. In terms of scoring defense, the two teams are close. Alabama allow 11.4 points per game while Florida allows 14.6 per game, making them No. 1 and No. 5, respectively. That could mean a tightly contested SEC Championship Game for 2016, should Florida and Alabama both play their best defense.
No matter how one looks at it, though, it seems this will be Alabama's game to lose. The team has clearly been on another mission to take the College Football Playoffs and win the championship. This game will go a long way towards solidifying their spot as No. 1 when it comes to the playoff picture.
[Featured Image by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images]