A 100% Objective Breakdown of UGA vs LSU
With the LSU Fighting Tigers facing the Georgia Bulldogs in Atlanta for the SEC Championship this Saturday, let's take an objective look at the match-up. I have removed my purple and gold glasses to deliver an unbiased breakdown of the big game. Here's a serious-as-a-heart-attack look at these prestigious SEC programs two days before the champion of the best conference in college football is crowned:
Coaches: LSU is led by Les Miles, known as the Mad Hatter for his risk-taking penchant and wacky talking style. Georgia is led by Mark Richt, known affectionately to UGA fans as . . . Mark Richt. The Hat has a national championship ring and Richt doesn't. Plus, Richt looks a little too tan for early December. Advantage: LSU.
Mascots: LSU has Mike VI, a 700-pound Bengal tiger that lives in an elaborate habitat outside Tiger Stadium. Georgia has the lovable Uga, an English bulldog that proudly adorns the Georgia sideline. Uga is perhaps the most well-known live mascot in all of college football. He's cute. But Mike the Tiger would eat Uga as a pregame appetizer. Advantage: LSU.
Quarterbacks: After starting the season with a bar fight and then taking over for Jarrett Lee, who had led the Tigers to a perfect 8-0 record, Jordan Jefferson is the Tigers' QB. Aaron Murray is the Dawgs' signal caller and many regard Murray as one of, if not the best, quarterback in the conference. Advantage: LSU.
Team colors: LSU's team colors are woven into the fabric of life in Louisiana. In the late 19th century, LSU sent its team captains to New Orleans to pick out the team's uniforms. It was Mardi Gras season and the players chose the traditional Mardi Gras ensemble of purple, green, and gold as the team's colors. The garment store, however, was out of green fabric, so the Tigers went with purple and gold. Georgia originally had gold, red and black as team colors but jettisoned gold after losing to its arch rival Georgia Tech, who also wore gold. Advantage: LSU.
College towns: LSU hails from Baton Rouge, one of the best places on earth for seven Saturdays in the fall. After that there are few, if any, redeeming qualities about B.R. Athens is a classic Southern college town with all of the culture, entertainment, and charm you'd expect. Athens consistently tops national surveys as one of the country's best college towns. Advantage: LSU.
Stadiums: LSU plays in Tiger Stadium where, according to former head coach Mike Archer, you can smell the bourbon on the field. Georgia plays in Sanford Stadium, which seats 346 more people than Tiger Stadium but, other than the hedges, lacks any real identity. Also, Georgia's first loss in Sanford Stadium was to Tulane in 1931. Advantage: LSU.
Running backs: LSU's fourth-string running back ran for over 100 yards against Arkansas. Georgia is still searching for the next Herschel and Isaiah Crowell is a dope-smoking tin man, though capable of having a huge game on Saturday and possibly winning the contest for Georgia. Advantage: LSU.
Team names: LSU's team name is "Tigers" in honor of a Civil War regiment from Louisiana that fought the Yankees fiercely -- so fiercely that it was said the soldiers fought like Tigers. Georgia's team name is "Bulldogs" because in 1920, an Atlanta newspaper writer suggested Georgia's sports teams should be named the Bulldogs. Advantage: LSU.
Notable alumni: Georgia has turned out several distinguished alumni, including actor Wayne Knight (he played Newman in Seinfeld), American Idol host Ryan Seacrest, the members of Grammy award-winning R.E.M., and Alton Brown of Food Network fame. LSU, however, counts John Reily "Pigeon" Thomason of Houston, Texas as a proud graduate. Huge advantage: LSU.
Players nicknamed "The Honey Badger": LSU has one. Georgia doesn't. Advantage: LSU.
Fans in the Georgia Dome: Georgia fans should outnumber LSU fans 3/1. Advantage: LSU.
Academics: LSU comes in at #128 in the U.S. News rankings of American universities. Georgia is ranked #62 and was the first state-chartered university in America. Advantage: LSU.
Special teams: LSU's punter, Brad Wing, became the first player in the nation to have a touchdown run nullified for taunting the opposing team. Georgia's punter won the Ray Guy Award as a sophomore and its kicker was a consensus pre-season All-SEC pick. Advantage: LSU.
Defenses: LSU has Barkevious "The Mischievous" Mingo, one of the all-time best names in college football history. LSU's athletes on defense are just sick. Georgia's rush defense is second only to Alabama's, leads the SEC in sacks and tackles for losses, and has plenty of athletes who'll play on Sunday. Advantage: LSU.
Fan cheers: LSU fans chant "Tiger Bait" at opposing teams' fans and have a unique -- albeit strange -- combination of bayou, N'awlins, Cajun, and Looziana attitude. Georgia fans bark like dogs. Advantage: LSU.
Overall body of work: LSU has beaten three top ten BCS teams and blown out every opponent except Alabama. Georgia has beaten two big-boy college football teams with winning records (Georgia Tech and Auburn), but is peaking at the right time with nothing to lose on Saturday. Advantage: LSU.
So, there you have it. A completely objective look at the 2011 SEC Championship. If the chips fall as we hope they will, I'll write you in early January to preview the BCS title game