Alabama and Georgia have played a couple of instant classics in the Nick Saban-Kirby Smart era. Now, the familiar former co-workers are once again set to square off for the SEC Championship after the Crimson Tide clinched the SEC West with a 42-35 win against Arkansas on Saturday.
Clinching the SEC West for a third time in four years, and a sixth time since 2014, did not come easy for Alabama, which had to overcome a late fake field goal from Arkansas that resulted in a touchdown. But the victory, by any margin, remains good enough to lock up the division with the Iron Bowl against Auburn left on the regular-season schedule.
Even if the Crimson Tide were to lose to the Tigers and finish at 6-2 in conference play instead of 7-1, the only team still with two conference losses in the SEC West, Ole Miss, lacks the head-to-head advantage. Texas A&M, the only team to beat Alabama in conference play to this point, has three conference losses and fell out of SEC West contention with its loss to the Rebels last weekend.
Georgia, on the other hand, locked up the SEC East back on Oct. 30 and has continued to cruise through conference competition without anything close to an upset scare. This is the fourth division title in five years for the Bulldogs, which are searching for their first win in the SEC Championship Game since 2017. Georgia concluded its SEC schedule last week with its 41-17 win at Tennessee, finishing the year with an 8-0 record in conference play. The Bulldogs beat Charleston Southern on Saturday and will finish the regular season against rival Georgia Tech in Atlanta next week.
It will be the first time that Alabama and Georgia have met in the SEC title game since the Crimson Tide's 35-28 win back in 2018, which served as an encore to the overtime epic in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game the year prior. Alabama overcame a halftime deficit and pulled away for a 41-24 victory in a regular-season meeting between the two teams last year, and while the battles have been competitive, the tally shows the Crimson Tide with six straight wins in the series with Smart still winless in his three meetings against Saban.
The SEC Championship Game will be played in Atlanta at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium and broadcast live on CBS, CBSSports.com and the CBS Sports App. Kickoff is at 4 p.m. ET.