Greetings Bulldog fans … what a wonderful regular season it was for our 11-1 men in red and black. However, rather than storming the field on Saturday, everyone here at Bulldawg Illustrated went straight to work that evening for this very special SEC Championship Extra issue.
And I must say, the result is 48 pages of solid gold.
We wouldn’t have it any other way, as our Bulldogs will face an Auburn Tigers team that boat-raced their opponents throughout November. Yes, one of their victims was Georgia, who let early miscues snowball into a long and ugly day on the Plains.
But now as our cover proudly displays, Kirby Smart and company, along with the greatest fanbase in the country, have an opportunity to exact “Revenge in the Benz” at 4 p.m. on Saturday in Atlanta. To the winner goes the SEC Championship, and also what appears a guaranteed berth in the College Football Playoff.
Are we fired up yet???
I think we will all agree that Auburn is one of the hottest teams in the country, so a fair question is just how do you beat them? In particular, what will it take to slow down their high-octane offense that seems unstoppable at the moment?
After watching the Tigers play both the Dawgs and Alabama, my personal belief is that our defense will have to sell out and take some chances. When you have as many misdirection plays as Auburn does, the only way to throw them off their rhythm is to absolutely blow up the line of scrimmage. Essentially, you must deny them the opportunity to go through all their options. Now, I don’t think our defense can do that just with its defensive lineman. It will take well-orchestrated and timely blitzes from both our linebackers and defensive backs.
For our offense to exact revenge on the nasty Tigers defense, I think Kevin Butler hit the nail on the head on Sunday’s Bulldog Brunch with co-host and BI’s own, Jeff Dantzler. Butler said the only way to beat a bully is to out-bully them, and that always starts with the bully initially having his way. Give Auburn credit in November’s meeting they absolutely stifled our top-notch running game. But on Saturday, I have full faith that our guys are up for the challenge of taking a punch before delivering a knockout blow.
Beyond the defense and offense, the key to victory on Saturday will be for our team to not lose its composure like they did on the Plains. Silly penalties and mistakes must be avoided. The goal is to frustrate Auburn into being the team that after having so much success begins to have things not go their way.
Enter the Bulldog Nation.
I’ve said several times in this space how impressive our fans have been all season long. On Saturday in “The Benz,” Georgia will certainly have the advantage with more folks in the stands.
In Sunday evening’s SEC Championship conference call with Kirby, I specifically asked him what Georgia’s 12th man can do for his team in the SEC Championship Game.
“Our fan base has a chance to impact this game,” Kirby said. And we certainly want them to come out and turn out and do as they have done this year but to a higher degree and be there for us and support us. You never know what kind of impact a crowd, crowd noise can have on a game, but we’ll certainly need their help.”
So Georgia fans … are we ready to deliver for our coach and this awesome team?
I know the answer and I greatly look forward to being right there with you for the Revenge in the Benz.
I hope you will enjoy this SEC Championship issue. As I stated at the beginning, our team has done an incredible job of pulling off this extra installment. Inside, you will find great analysis from JD, Murray Poole, Savannah Richardson and Greg Poole. Also, we appreciate ESPN’s Mark Schlabach giving his insight on Saturday’s game on page 18. And I know our readers will absolutely love his score prediction.
Also, definitely don’t miss our Junior Journalist, Hamilton Culpepper’s annual awards on page 45. He spends a ton of time deciding whom the “The Hammys” go to at the end of each season.
And no issue of BI is complete without some lifestyle coverage and fan photos that start on page 27. As always, beating Georgia Tech on their home turf is such a blast, which made for great photos. But more than anything and most importantly, the Governor’s Cup is back where it belongs in Athens.
Finally, in our center spread pages (24, 25), make sure to pull out our special Nick Chubb poster. It is a fitting tribute to one of the greatest Bulldogs with some darn impressive career numbers (which aren’t complete just yet).
Alright, Georgia fans … the moment that we have craved for years is right in front of us. Now’s lets go get our Revenge in the Benz and punch our first ticket to the College Football Playoff. Go Dawgs!!