The SEC Championship: This is Alabama Football

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Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback A.J. McCarron (10) celebrates following a win over the LSU Tigers at Tiger Stadium. (Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE)

In case you haven’t heard, Alabama will be playing for its 23rd SEC title on Saturday.

It seems so long ago now that Alabama put an elephantine beat-down on Tim Tebow and the Florida Gators in 2009 en route to the Tide’s 13th national championship.

Florida and Alabama were No. 1 and 2, respectively, and the winner of the SEC Championship Game was bound for Pasadena and a shot at the BCS title. This scenario has been a familiar one recently. Since 2006, the winner of the SEC championship has played for the BCS title, with last year being the first year the team hasn’t gone on to win it all.

Alabama missed out on playing Georgia last year and let LSU represent the West.

But the “Road to 15,” as the 2012 season has come to be called for Alabama fans, does indeed pass through Atlanta. For the first time since the SEC Championship Game’s inception in 1992, the Crimson Tide’s opponent is someone other than Florida. This year, Alabama gets Georgia in their own backyard.

Georgia may feel like they have somewhat of a home-field advantage being in Atlanta. Lately though, Alabama has owned the Georgia Dome, as well as any another dome they have played in.

Just ask LSU.

In fact, Alabama hasn’t lost away from Bryant-Denny since November 6, 2010 at LSU. The road- or neutral-game winning streak since then has included wins over Michigan State, Penn State, Florida, Michigan and LSU. Most notable of those is Alabama’s win over LSU in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome that clinched the 2011 BCS title.

In each of these big games, the Crimson Tide has risen to the challenge. The big stage does not scare a Saban-coached Alabama team. The players execute with a precision and intensity that has always been the trademark of great Tide teams. They don’t get rattled. They don’t give up.

And they don’t lose.

This is Alabama Football.

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