If you’re that one person in Athens who isn’t up-to-date on the Bulldogs’ season, you may not know that the big machine in red and black is headed to the SEC Championship for the second year in a row. If you find yourself at a watch party and are sweating the fact that you don’t know anything about the Bulldogs or the team they’re facing, the Alabama Crimson Tide, worry not — we’ve got you covered. Here are some talking points to help you blend in with the rest of the football-loving crowd.
1. This is a rematch of the National Championship.
Look, if you’re a Bulldog fan, it’s almost guaranteed if you watched last year’s National Championship, you remember exactly where you were when that play happened. While both teams now have slightly different lineups, fans of both UGA and Alabama are looking forward to this game.
2. Deandre Baker is out here, doin’ that.
If you don’t know about Baker, you’re missing out. In case you haven’t noticed, the Crimson Tide has some pretty dang good receivers. But Baker is one of the country’s best college cornerbacks — the position that covers wide receivers — and hasn’t given up a passing touchdown since 2016. He’ll be huge in this game. Bring it on.
3. Justin Fields shouldn’t be underestimated.
Jake Fromm has already proven himself to be a powerhouse and MVP. What we’re trying to say here is Fromm may not be the only UGA quarterback making an appearance at the SEC Championship. After all, Fields is an up-and-coming powerhouse of his own — remember that 57-yard pass to Mecole Hardman in the UMass game?
4. Kirby Smart and Nick Saban still have history.
You might recall that Kirby Smart used to be an assistant coach and defensive coordinator at Alabama. He coached under Saban until he got hired at UGA in 2016 and became a Bulldog once again. After facing his former head coach last year, Smart will go up again Saban again with a new batch of Bulldogs.
5. Swift + Holyfield = the new Chubb and Michel?
While our hearts still ache thinking of the greatest football bromance of all time — Nick Chubb and Sony Michel — D’Andre Swift and Elijah Holyfield are making some killer plays. They’re a running back duo to watch, and if given the chance, you can bet they’ll be instrumental in the championship.
6. The Bulldogs lost some major defensive players last year.
Boy oh boy, some great players graduated last year. Davin Bellamy, Roquan Smith, Lorenzo Carter… none are at UGA anymore. Many players have stepped in to fill these gaps. But it still could be intriguing to see the difference in gameplay for this year’s SEC Championship from last year’s Natty.
7. Be prepared to watch the whole game.
Both teams are formidable in their own ways. Even though Alabama has dominated the game pretty much all season, it’s very likely that this will be a four-quarter battle. So sit back and grab some popcorn — it’s gonna be an interesting ride.
Michael Hebert, Janey Murray and Alex Soderstrom contributed to this article.