Special Teams Will Make The Difference in SEC Championship

Jeremy EnglandContributor IMarch 14, 2017

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Alabama will face Florida in the Georgia Dome next Saturday for the SEC Championship game.  Throughout the season the country has been waiting on this matchup.  If stats tell the tale, the game should not disappoint. 

Offensively and defesively there probably hasn't been a more equal matchup all season. 

Offensively, Florida scores an average of 36 points per game while Alabama is putting up 32.  The Gators are rushing for 230 yards per game, Alabama runs for 226. 

On the other side of the ball these two teams are scarily similar as well.  Florida is allowing roughly 10 points per game and Bama is right there with them.   Bama allows 70 rushing yards per game, Florida gives up 90.  Florida gives up 140 yards in the air, Alabama allows 155.  They both are in the mid 80's on pass efficiency defense. 

Turnovers are no help in deciding.  Bama leads the SEC in interceptions with 15, guess who is right behind them with 13.  Overall Bama also leads the SEC in turnover margin with plus 13.  UF isn't far behind with plus 11.

If one can find any difference in these teams it will have to be found in the special teams. 

Make no mistake about it, Florida return man Brandon James is a fantastic player, but Alabama now has the NCAA all time punt return yards record holder in Javier Arenas.  Field position will be critical in deciding this game and Arenas is certainly a game changer in that category.

Another advantage the Tide may have over Florida is in the kicking game.  Leigh Tiffin is the all time leading scorer in Alabama football history.  He also leads the SEC in scoring this year. 

In a game where inches could literally mean the difference in winning and losing, it is nice to have these two weapons on your sideline.