SEC Championship Game
The game is a result of conference expansion, which saw Arkansas and South Carolina become the first members added in SEC history. Under NCAA regulations, a conference with 12 members may play a 12th football game to determine its champion, provided the regular season is played in divisions.
The participants of the game are determined each year during the eight-game regular season conference schedule as the teams with the best overall winning percentage in each division. Georgia won the right to represent the Eastern Division, with the highest BCS ranking of the three tied teams among itself, Florida and Tennessee. LSU and Ole Miss finished the SEC season at 7-1 and were Western Division Co-Champions, but the Tigers earned the berth in a head-to-head tiebreaker, defeating the Rebels, 17-14, on Nov. 22.
The highest rated SEC Championship Game was in 1994 (Florida 24, Alabama 23), when 31.2 million viewers tuned in, drawing a 10.5 rating.
The SEC Championship Game has also drawn capacity crowds in its history. More than 823,000 fans have witnessed first-hand the pageantry of SEC football at the 10 previous championship games.
Attendance at the 11 previous championship games has been 101.8 percent of stadium capacity, including nine sellouts.
Georgia will be playing in its second straight SEC Championship Game. Last year, the Bulldogs won the SEC title with a 30-3 win over Arkansas. LSU will be making its second trip in three years. In 2001, LSU downed Tennessee, 31-20, to claim the SEC championship.
In the current agreement, the SEC Championship Game will be held at the Georgia Dome through the 2009 game.
* GEORGIA vs. LSU *Saturday, Dec. 6 * 8 p.m. ET
Atlanta, Ga. * Georgia Dome (71,500)
TELEVISION: CBS Sports will televise the game nationally for the first time (Verne Lundquist: Play-by-Play; Todd Blackledge: Analyst; Jill Arrington: Sidelines).
RADIO: Managed by Host Communications, the SEC Radio Network will broadcast the game to the 9-state SEC region (Dave Neal: Play-by-Play; Jeff Van Note: Analyst; Dave Baker: Sidelines).
Westwood One Radio Sports will broadcast the game around the nation (John Tautges: Play-by-Play; Bob Trumpy, Analyst; Fran Curci, Analyst).
SERIES: LSU leads, 13-9-1
LSU's 17-10 win in Baton Rouge in Week 4 of this season broke a three-game Georgia win streak in the series. The last three meeting in the series, all since 1998, have been decided by a combined nine points. On Oct. 3, 1998, in Baton Rouge, Georgia defeated LSU, 28-27. On Oct. 2, 1999 in Athens, Georgia defeated LSU, 23-22. This contest will mark only the 11th meeting between the two teams in the last 50 years.
LAST MEETING: LSU, 17-10 (Sept. 20, 2003 at Baton Rouge)
LSU's Skyler Green caught a 34-yard TD pass from Matt Mauck with 1:22 left in the game to lift the Tigers to a 17-10 win over the Bulldogs in Baton Rouge. Georgia entered the game 7th in both the AP and USA Today/ESPN polls while LSU was 10th in USA Today/ESPN and 11th in AP. The Bulldogs outgained LSU, 411-285, in total yards. Georgia got out to a 3-0 lead on a 33-yard Billy Bennett field goal in the first quarter but LSU scored on a 21-yard Shyrone Carey TD run in the second quarter and added a 47-yard Ryan Gaudet field goal in the third quarter to take a 10-3 lead. David Greene connected with Tyson Browning on a 93-yard TD pass to tie the score with 4:25 left in the game.
SEC in this Week's Associated Press Poll (Dec. 1)1. Oklahoma (65) 12-0
2. Southern California 10-1
3. LSU 11-1
4. Michigan 10-2
5. GEORGIA 10-2 1
6. Texas 10-2
7. TENNESSEE 10-2
8. Ohio State 10-2
9. Florida State 10-2
10. Miami (Fla.) 10-2
11. Purdue 9-3
12. Iowa 9-3
13. Kansas State 10-3
14. Miami (Ohio) 11-1
15. Washington State 9-3
16. FLORIDA 8-4
17. OLE MISS 9-3
18. Boise State 11-1
19. Texas Christian 11-1
20. Bowling Green 10-2
21. West Virginia 8-4
22. Oklahoma State 9-3
23. Nebraska 9-3
24. Maryland 9-3
25. Minnesota 9-3
Others (SEC Only): Arkansas (1).
ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE (4-9, 2-6 SEC)
Alabama ends the year with nine losses, the second-most in school history. Only the 1955 (0-10) team lost more games ... Shaud Williams' 278 rushing attempts this season rank third on the Alabama single-season list, while the 1,356 rushing yards are also the third-most in school history. Williams missed the single-season rushing record by 105 yards. The single-season record is held by Bobby Humphrey, who ran for 1,471 yards as a junior in 1986 ... SS Chris James is the only player in Alabama history to block four punts in a single-season (vs. Oklahoma, Southern Miss, Ole Miss and Hawai'i).
ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS (8-4, 4-4 SEC)
TB Cedric Cobbs rushed for 169 yards on 21 carries and a TD against LSU ... For the season, Cobbs has 1,179 rushing yards on 200 carries and 9 TDs ... For his career, Cobbs has 2,877 yards in 45 games ... Decori Birmingham accounted for 178 all-purpose yards against the Tigers ... He has 903 all-purpose yards this season ... SS Tony Bua continues to be the SEC's active career tackles leader with 386 ... Bua had 12 stops (9 solos) with two pass deflections against LSU ... LB Caleb Miller is third among active SEC tacklers with 326 stops, after recording 13 (12 solos), including two for losses (-5) against LSU.
AUBURN TIGERS (7-5, 5-3 SEC)
Auburn's touchdown on its first play from scrimmage (80 yard run by Carnell Williams) is believed to be the first time the Tigers have scored on their opening play since the Houston game in 1957 ... RB Carnell Williams moved past Stacy Danley (2,427) into sixth place in Auburn history for career rushing yards with 2,598 ... QB Jason Campbell moved past Ben Leard (4,289) for sixth in Auburn history for career passing yards with 4,461 ... WR Jeris McIntyre had at least two receptions for the 12th straight game. It is the longest such streak since Karsten Bailey did it in 22 straight games from 1996-98.
FLORIDA GATORS (8-4, 6-2 SEC)
By facing No. 9 Florida State, the 2003 Gator squad tied the school record for most ranked teams played in one season (No. 3 Miami, No. 4 Georgia, No. 6 LSU, No. 11 Arkansas and No. 12 Tennessee). Florida also played six ranked teams in a season in 1987 and 1991 ... Chris Leak threw for 273 yards on 36 attempts today, a career high for both yards and attempts ... Leak's 273 yards vs. FSU are the second most by a true freshman in school history (282 by Wayne Peace vs. Georgia in 1980) ... Leak is now second on three SEC true freshman records; completions (168), yards (2,167) and touchdowns (14).
GEORGIA BULLDOGS (10-2, 6-2 SEC)
Georgia has a share of the SEC Eastern Division title with Tennessee and Florida ... Georgia has won 14 straight at Sanford Stadium, the second longest such streak in school history ... PK Billy Bennett has kicked five field goals in the last two games ... Bennett now has 392 career points, which is fourth in NCAA for most points by kicking ... Georgia has won nine straight non-conference games (last loss to Boston College in 2001 Music City Bowl) ... QB David Greene is now the SEC career leader in lowest percentage of interceptions thrown ... Greene has averaged just one interception in every 42.5 attempts.
KENTUCKY WILDCATS (4-8, 1-7 SEC)
With 43 punt return yardsvs. Tennessee, Derek Abney became the first NCAA Division I-A player to reach 2,000 receiving yards, 2,000 kickoff return yards, and 1,000 punt return yards in a career. He finished his career with 5,854 career all-purpose yards (2,339 receiving yards, 2,313 kickoff return yards and 1,042 punt return yards), second-highest total in SEC history ... QB Jared Lorenzen finished his career with 10,354 passing yards, the fourth-highest total in SEC history. He also closed out with 10,637 yards of career total offense, third all-time in the SEC.
LSU TIGERS (11-1, 7-1 SEC)
LSU will be making its second trip to the SEC Championship Game and first since defeating Tennessee, 31-20, in the 2001 game ... LSU set the single season scoring mark with its TD in the second quarter, scoring its 382nd point of the season. ... The previous record of 375 points was set by the 1977 team ... LSU finished the game with 420 points this season ... QB Matt Mauck's four touchdown passes moved the junior into third place for career touchdowns thrown at LSU with 36 ... LSU set a school record this season with 58 TDs scored ... The LSU-Arkansas crowd of 92,213 is the second largest in Tiger Stadium history.
OLE MISS REBELS (9-3, 7-1 SEC)
Ole Miss has nine regular-season wins for the first time since 1990 ... The Rebels have 5,182 total offensive yards this season in 12 games, an average of 431.8 yards per game - both school records ... WR Chris Collins had 8 catches for 113 yards and a TD against Miss. State ... The senior is the Ole Miss single-season record holder in receptions (69) and yardage (874) and also the school's career record holder in receptions (190), reception yardage (2,546) and TD receptions (24) ... The Rebels were undefeated on SEC opponents home fields for the first time since 1990.
MISSISSIPPI STATE BULLDOGS (2-10, 1-7 SEC)
State's 10 losses this season marks the first time the Bulldogs have had 10 setbacks in one season since 1988, when MSU went 1-10 ... TB Nick Turner concluded the 2003 season with a single-season school record of 1,664 all-purpose yards ... QB Kevin Fant concluded 2003 with a single-season school record of 186 pass completions ... He concluded his Bulldog career second all-time at State in passing yardage (5,631), second in completions (461), second in attempts (866), third in TD passes (33) and fourth in total offense (5,424) ... WR Justin Jenkins had a single-season school record nine TD receptions in 2003.
SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS (5-7, 2-6 SEC)
Tight end Brian Brownlee caught his first two career touchdown passes against Clemson ... The attendance of 83,987 in the CU-USC game was the fifth largest ever at Williams-Brice Stadium ... Total attendance for eight home games this season was 646,754, an average of 80,844 ... Six of eight South Carolina games this season drew more than 80,000 ... The 63 points by Clemson were the most ever by the Tigers against South Carolina ... Deandre Eiland had his second interception of the season and the ninth of his career against the Tigers ... Freshman RB Demetris Summers had 61 yards rushing on 12 carries.
TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS (10-2, 6-2 SEC)
With the win against Kentucky, Tennessee clinched a share of the SEC Eastern Division title ... The Vols are tied with Georgia and Florida ... QB Casey Clausen has thrown 9 TD passes in last three games and has a career-best 25 for the 2003 season ... UT tailbacks Cedric Houston (87), Jabari Davis (56) and Gerald Riggs (13) combined for 156 yards vs. Kentucky on 30 carries ... James Wilhoit has connected on 12 of his last 13 field goals in last 6 games ... He was 2-for-2 against the Wildcats ... Tennessee has intercepted opponents eight times in the last four games and has 14 on the season.
VANDERBILT COMMODORES (2-10, 1-7 SEC)
Soph. Kwane Doster finished the regular season with 1,039 all-purpose yards, which is currently fifth in the SEC ... Doster has rushed for 386 yards and has 571 kickoff return yards as well as 82 on receptions ... QB Jay Cutler finishes his sophomore campaign, completing 187-of-327 passes for 2,347 yards with 18 TDs and 13 INTs ... Another soph., WR Erik Davis, had 41 receptions for 638 yards and 8 TDs ... His 3.42 catch per game average is ninth in the SEC ... In two seasons, Cutler has 4,472 total offensive yards (692 rushing; 3,780 passing), an average of 186.3 yards per game.