Ge­or­gia leads the pack in hot pur­suit of su­per­power Alabama

The Morning Call - - SPORTS - By John Zenor

Alabama is still king in the South­east­ern Con­fer­ence, if not na­tion­ally.

Noth­ing that hap­pened in the na­tional cham­pi­onship game changed that, be­yond serv­ing as a heart­en­ing re­minder that Nick Sa­ban’s Crim­son Tide isn’t in fact in­vul­ner­a­ble.

The pur­suit con­tin­ues in the SEC, with Ge­or­gia again lead­ing the chase pack af­ter com­ing ever so close the past two sea­sons — in league and na­tional cham­pi­onship games.

So Tide play­ers are mo­ti­vated by the mantra “never be sat­is­fied.” For Ge­or­gia, the catch­phrase is “do more.” Mean­while, both can eye each other through­out the reg­u­lar sea­son just in case they meet again in the SEC ti­tle game.

An Alabama team that won ev­ery reg­u­lar-sea­son game by at least 22 points, had to rally to beat the Bull­dogs in At­lanta with the SEC ti­tle on the line be­fore ul­ti­mately get­ting pum­meled 44-16 by Clem­son in the na­tional cham­pi­onship game.

“Our mantra now for our guys that we have as a lead­er­ship group is to never be sat­is­fied,” said Alabama quar­ter­back Tua Tago­v­ailoa, last sea­son’s run­ner up for the Heis­man Tro­phy. “Early in the sea­son, we’d been beat­ing teams by a lot. Of course you’re go­ing to get sat­is­fied, be­cause you feel in­vin­ci­ble as a team. But never be­ing sat­is­fied is the way to go for us.”

Ge­or­gia safety J.R. Reed says the Bull­dogs can’t fo­cus on a po­ten­tial SEC ti­tle game re­match with the Tide.

“We can’t look ahead way down the line, be­cause we might not make it there if we look way down there,” Reed said. “We can’t count our eggs be­fore they hatch.”

Here are some things to know about the SEC this sea­son: by quar­ter­back Jake Fromm, Ge­or­gia is the clear fa­vorite to win a third con­sec­u­tive di­vi­sion ti­tle.

The Florida Ga­tors are com­ing off Dan Mullen’s 10-win de­but sea­son and Mis­souri is boosted by the ad­di­tion of quar­ter­back Kelly Bryant, a for­mer Clem­son starter.

Alabama re­mains the fa­vorite, as usual. But LSU’s Ed Org­eron and Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher are try­ing to build on solid 2018 sea­sons when the Tigers won 10 games and the Ag­gies went 9-4. Auburn, Arkansas, Mis­sis­sippi and Mis­sis­sippi State are break­ing in new quar­ter­backs.

West:

VASHA HUNT/AP

Auburn de­fen­sive tackle Der­rick Brown is a le­git­i­mate All-Amer­ica can­di­date.

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