Alabama vs. Georgia: Ranking the Most Important Players in the SEC Championship

Mike ShiekmanFeatured ColumnistNovember 28, 2012

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 24:  AJ McCarron #10 of the Alabama Crimson Tide calls out the Auburn Tigers defense at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 24, 2012 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Alabama and Georgia are both great teams overall, but the two squads sport a ton of individual talent.

Those stars will be on display in Atlanta for all the SEC marbles, while the entire country holds its breath.

Even with so much talent taking part in this game, only a few can truly affect the final tallies on the scoreboard.

Which players can change the team’s fortune for an SEC title berth?

Scroll down for the three most important players between Alabama and Georgia this Saturday.

3. T.J. Yeldon

You might be expecting AJ McCarron, but the Crimson Tide will live and die by the ground game and Yeldon is their source of big plays.

Their best chance to put up points with regularity will be to involve Yeldon early and often.

He leads the team with rushes over 12 yards or more and presents a tough matchup for the Georgia front seven to keep out of the second level.

The Alabama staff will try to employ Yeldon in a variety of ways, most notably in the power running game and through screen passes.

Georgia can game-plan all they want for the Crimson Tide’s 6’2” rushing phenom, but they’ll have to learn how to deal with Yeldon as the game goes on.

2. Jarvis Jones

If Jones can make an impact similar to what he did against Florida or Missouri, he may be the most influential player between these two teams.

At Missouri, Jones burst onto the scene with ten tackles, two sacks and an interception. In Jacksonville against the Gators, he did one better with 13 tackles and three sacks.

If not for a couple nagging injuries, Jones could have been heading to New York for the Heisman ceremony like Manti Te’o.

He’s giving Chance Warmack and the Alabama offensive line nightmares just thinking about him.

1. Aaron Murray

Once again, the Bulldogs fate goes as Murray plays. The Georgia quarterback has shown flashes of brilliance throughout 2012, from lighting up Ole Miss to doing just enough to squeak past Florida.

Along the way he's become the SEC's most efficient passer this season, which makes this matchup with Alabama even more interesting, as Sports Illustrated's Stewart Mandel notes:

Aaron Murray and AJ McCarron will go into the SEC title game as the nation's No. 1 and 2 rated passers.

— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) November 25, 2012

The Bulldogs will need big plays in the passing game to get red zone chances against ‘Bama, but Murray can go cold for stretches when he doesn’t’ get going early.

This Crimson Tide defense may not be as good as the 2011 edition, but it can certainly keep Murray in check and force him into bad decisions.

Murray does not need to blow up statistically to win the game; just a few big plays will do the trick and cement his legacy at Georgia.


Mike Shiekman is a Breaking News Writer for Bleacher Report. Follow all his college football musings and random thoughts of 140 characters @TheRealShiek