For the fourth consecutive week, the Alabama Crimson Tide are ranked as the No.1 team in the nation. Moreover, the gap between them and the rest of college football appears to be widening. The Tide defense just missed posting their third consecutive shutout, and their offense is third in the SEC, averaging an impressive 42 points per game.
For most of the season, the general consensus has been that the winner of the November 3 showdown between Alabama and LSU will play for the national championship. However, there could be a tall hill for either team to climb in the form of the Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC Championship.
I will go on record as stating that of all the SEC teams, Georgia has the highest ceiling for the 2012 season. Don't get me wrong, potential does not guarantee results. The Bulldogs could lose to three teams remaining on their schedule. In other words, they might not even make it to the SEC championship game.
However, at the same time, if this Bulldogs team reaches their potential, they will win the BCS national championship.
They have a distance to go before catching Alabama and LSU, but they have the talent in Athens to make it happen. The Bulldogs have been outstanding on offense led by third-year starter and Heisman candidate Aaron Murray. The Bulldogs have the No.1 ranked offense in the SEC, scoring 47.5 points per game.
Even the most casual SEC fan knows who Murray is. However, they might not know the names of their dynamic receiving core. This group of dynamic receivers made it possible for their best receiver last season to move over to defense—and somehow got better.
With Georgia, you have to pick your poison. Four games into the season, it already has three wide receivers with 260-plus yards, and the Bulldogs have seven players with a reception of over 35 yards this season.
With Marlon Brown (6'5" 222 lbs.) and Michael Bennett (6'3", 212 lbs.), they have tall receivers who can beat you across the middle or deep. With Tavarres King (6'1", 195 lbs.), Malcolm Mitchell (6'1" 185 lbs.) and Rantavious Wooten (5'10", 185 lbs.), there is always the threat of the home run ball.
Tennessee might have the best wide receiver duo in the SEC, but Georgia has the deepest unit.
Running back was supposed to be a major issue for the Bulldogs again this season after the dismissal of 2011 SEC Freshman of the Year Isaiah Crowell. However, the Bulldogs are in phenomenal shape with the dynamic freshman duo of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall.
Gurley currently leads the SEC in rushing (101.5), scoring (10.5) and all-purpose yardage (164.2). Marshall is off to a great start as well. Marshall has carried the ball for 264 yards and three touchdowns on just 42 carries (6.3 YPC).
As a result, the Bulldogs are leading the SEC in yards per carry and rushing touchdowns. They are averaging a full yard more per carry than Alabama and four more rushing touchdowns than the vaunted Crimson Tide running game.
Georgia is currently better than Alabama at every position on offense other than offensive line. Although the Bulldogs are unlikely to reach the same level as the Tide's offensive line this season, they should narrow the gap.
The defensive side of the football is where things should get interesting. Georgia has played bellow expectations this season. However, it has been down four starters for all but one game: last week's game, where it held Vanderbilt to three points.
It appears that the Bulldogs will be full strength for the first time this season. As a result, we will soon see if the potential will become a reality for the Bulldogs.
It should be noted that the players who have been suspended this season were not just average players. 2011 All-American Bacarri Rambo will bring another level of physicality to this Bulldogs run defense, and he led the SEC with eight interceptions last season.
Alec Ogletree was a preseason All-SEC player who is ranked as the No. 19 player in the nation on Mel Kiper's big board.
Though many would scoff, it is possible that this Georgia defense could reach the level of Alabama's. The talent is there.
According to Kiper's big board, Jarvis Jones is the No.1 prospect on his board at any position. John Jenkins is rated as the No. 1 defensive tackle in college football. Ogletree is the No. 2 inside linebacker. Shawn Williams is the No. 2 rated safety in the nation and Rambo is No. 3.
If the potential of this defensive unit is met, what position is Alabama better at on defense?
Championships are not won on paper. However, anyone from an unbiased opinion would have to concur that Georgia has the highest ceiling for this year of any team in the SEC.
Disagree? What positions are Alabama and LSU clearly better at?
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