by Brad Wilson, 13WMAZ.com
- 32 years after their Sugar Bowl match-up, UGA and Notre Dame could play each other for another national title shot.
- Reigning National Champion Alabama stands in Georgia's way.
- The Bulldog's efficient QB play, running game and peaking defense will make the difference, Leland Ragin says.
Despite this weekend's crossed fingers and high hopes from Florida and Oregon fans, speculation over which teams will play in Miami on Jan. 7 for the BCS National Championship has come to an end.
It comes down to three. The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame secured their spot with a win against USC.
The other spot goes to the winner of the SEC Championship Game: perennial powerhouse Alabama, representing the SEC West; and the rising Georgia Bulldogs, winners of the SEC East.
The two teams haven't met since 2008 when the Bulldogs, who were ranked #3 at the time, lost 41-30 to the then #10 Crimson Tide in what may prove to be the last ever "blackout" game Georgia has.
Leland Ragin, host of the Midday Mayhem and The Sports Wrap on ESPN radio, says this year could be different.
He points to UGA's defense, which has played very well over the last few games, and QB Aaron Murray who just eclipsed the 3,000-yard mark for the season for a third year in a row. He's the first quarterback in SEC history to do so. And, by the way, leads the nation in QB efficiency.
Ragin also says the combo of freshmen running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall (or 'Gurshal' as the tandem has been called, slyly referencing UGA great Herschel Walker) is a threat the Bulldogs didn't have in 2008.
The running game, coupled with Murray's arm and defensive players like Bacarri Rambo and Jarvis Jones make the "Dawgs" a potent threat to the Crimson Tide's reign at the top of the SEC.
The Fighting Irish, who started unranked this season, completed their perfect regular season with a win over rival (and the preseason number one) USC Trojans.
With Heisman hopeful Manti Te'o leading the defense, Notre Dame fought for respect, coming out on top of a few close calls to finish the regular season at 12-0.
Now they have just one game to go to make their season perfect.
Ragin says the Irish will have a tough time dealing with the SEC, whether it's Georgia or Alabama. He says the size, speed, and talent of the conference are just too much for the number one team.
Of course, it should be noted, the last time The University of Georgia met Notre Dame in a National Title game was the 1980-81 season.
The Bulldogs took that game--and it's last national title--17-10.