If you are Alabama and find yourself obliged to play a little game in the Georgia Dome this weekend, all the challenges lie within.
You have had study halls more dangerous than Saturday’s SEC Championship match-up with Florida. For the Crimson Tide, on the scale of difficulties facing the modern collegian, the Gators rank somewhere between finding space in any 7 a.m. class and locking down the fake ID.
You are Alabama and you possess the statistically best defense in America. Florida can barely fog a mirror when it has the ball. Oddsmakers thus far have established the Tide as a 24-point favorite, an absurdly vast spread for a conference championship game. And, yet, to get anyone to bet the Gators, the books they may have to offer further inducements, like throwing in a complimentary drink and two show tickets.
If you are Alabama, why would you waste a single moment of preparation this week for anything Florida does? The Gator game plan is irrelevant. It is impossible to foresee the same team that just got run over by an ordinary-as-sausage-gravy Florida State devising something this week that would cause Alabama even polite concern.
Do not watch a minute of Gator game video, ‘Bama. Or risk infecting the players and the coaching staff with an over-confidence bordering on indifference. Better to loosen up the troops, maybe conduct a little Adam Sandler film festival in the meeting room this week.
Rather, concentrate on your own stuff. It’s all about you, ‘Bama. If you and your freshman quarterback do not get reckless with the ball, this one already is all powdered and swaddled and safe. Florida is only a factor if the Tide allows.
A couple more pieces of unsolicited advice for the visitors from Tuscaloosa for this purely ceremonial SEC Championship:
Get those No. 3s on the depth chart plenty of practice time this week. The fourth quarter Saturday could be theirs.
Even if the unfathomable happens and you do lose Saturday, chances are good you’re still in the playoff. So, above all, stay healthy, fellas.
Even bring your second-level fans to Atlanta this weekend, the more sober, more polite, more compassionate ones. Reserve the most obnoxious for the national semi-final game back here on Dec. 31, when their venom might be needed.