Who Will Be MVP In SEC Title Game?
Alabama and Florida meet at 4 p.m. EST (3 p.m. central time) Saturday for the SEC Championship. The game in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta will be televised by CBS. Both the Crimson Tide and Gators have 12-0 records, including 8-0 SEC marks. Florida is ranked first in the nation, Bama second.
The winner will go to the Bowl Championship Series national championship[ game in the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena on January 7.
While it's possible someone other than Tim Tebow would be the MVP with a Florida win, it would difficult to get many to predict any other Gator.
It's tougher on the Alabama side. If Bama comes out with a victory (and the MVP almost always comes from the winning team), the result could be because of offense, defense, or special teams.
Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy elevated his game last week in the Tide's win over Auburn. If McElroy puts together a game-winning drive in the final minutes of the game against Florida, he'd be a prime candidate for MVP.
It could be Mark Ingram. Dismissed as a Heisman Trophy candidate by almost all (including all those who two weeks ago considered him the leader), he could be back in the limelight if he puts Bama on his shoulders.
Julio Jones has had a quiet sophomore season, though Tide coaches insist he has been very good in areas other than pass receptions. Jones was terrific in the game-winning drive against Auburn, and if he has a big game it would mean he defeated an outstanding defensive back in Florida's Joe Haden.
Other offensive possibilities for Alabama include native Floridians, tight end Colin Peek and tailback Trent Richardson.
Beating Forida probably means stopping Tebow.
Bama's best stopper is middle linebacker Rolando McClain. If it's a team effort that gets the job done, McClain would be the obvious choice to represent Alabama's defense.
A few key sacks of Tebow might win the award for some Tide defender. But which one? Alabama's sack attack comes from everywhere. Eryk Anders and Cody Reamer from outside linebacker spots and McClain up the middle are effective. With Terrence Cody occupying a few offensive linemen, Marcell Dareus has been a quarterback's nightmare.
Can Javier Arenas (5-9, 195) affect Tebow (6-3, 240) with his cornerback blitz? It might be asking too much of Arenas to get Tebow on the gound, but he could harrass the Florida quarterback.
Arenas knows what to do with the football in his hands, too, and an interception or two might make him MVP. But if one was thinking in terms of an interception to make the difference, the odds have top favor Mark Barron, the sophomore safety who leads the SEC with seven picks. He, too, has the ability to make something happen when he has the ball.
If Alabama wins because of special teams play, it's liklely to be either Arenas, the SEC's all-time leading punt return man, or place-kicker Leigh Tiffin, the leading scorer in the SEC this year and the all-time leading scorer in Alabama history. Tiffin is the favorite to win this year's Groza Award as the nation's best place-kicker.
So it's Tebow against a handful.
Truth is, most on Alabama's side could care less about which Bama player is MVP so long as the Crimson Tide is team winner.
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