Much of the story of the 2012 SEC season has been about what's new.
From Texas A&M freshman QB Johnny Manziel's breakout season, to the improvements made by first and second year head coaches such as Will Muschamp at Florida, James Franklin at Vanderbilt, Kevin Sumlin at Texas A&M and Hugh Freeze at Ole Miss to new members Texas A&M and Missouri, it's been a year of change in the SEC.
Richt's 12 years and Saban's 11 years of total SEC head-coaching experience trails only South Carolina's Steve Spurrier, who has 21 combined years at South Carolina and Florida. Richt and Missouri's Gary Pinkel share the SEC's longest current tenure at one school. Saban trails only those two, Spurrier and LSU's Les Miles in that category.
"They've won on a very consistent basis the entire time Mark has been there," Saban said of Richt, via teleconference. "He's developed a lot of good players, a lot of good quarterbacks. He has a very good offensive system and scheme. I think his record speaks for itself."
It's not just familiar coaches, but two veteran QBs who also played a huge role in getting the Tide and the Bulldogs to Atlanta. Georgia QB Aaron Murray (177.2) and Alabama QB AJ McCarron (176.3) come into Saturday's contest as the top two QBs in pass efficiency in the league.
They also have thrown the least amount of interceptions among SEC QBs who have started every game this season. Murray threw seven. McCarron had just two passes picked off.
"They've both had great seasons to this point -- tremendous leaders for their programs," Richt said of Murray and McCarron. "It will certainly come down to a lot of things, but the quarterback play, as we all know, is very crucial."
Setting the scene: How excited are Georgia and Alabama fans for what essentially is a semi-final matchup for the national title?
If you don't have a ticket yet, prepare to pay up. Tickets start at $276 on the website StubHub.com with several tickets being listed at over $1000.
For more up-to-the minute news and analysis from SEC bloggers Larry Hartstein and Daniel Lewis, follow @CBSSportsSEC.