Uga X - Georgia bulldog mascot

Dawgs, sticking with the ground game

Pay close attention to LSU and Georgia in the Southeastern Conference championship game Saturday.

You might want to frame it, save it for posterity.

Just for nostalgia's sake.

It wasn't that long ago that by-god SEC football was grunting defense and a sound running game and 9-6 Games of the Century.

That time evidently has passed.

You may never see its like again.

But Saturday could be one of the last vestiges of everything the conference once held dear to its heart.

Just don't look at LSU.

The Tigers have already crossed over to the dark side, tossing aside the traditional SEC holy trinity of field position, time of possession and ball control, throwing them out the window and putting the pedal to the metal.

But Georgia is still, relatively speaking, as old-school as blocking dummies and water barrels.

LSU was one of the last SEC holdouts. The Bulldogs aren't quite there yet.

Georgia is coached by Kirby Smart, a Nick Saban disciple, the old-school coach straight from central casting.

Maybe the Bulldogs will be taking notes as to what LSU does, but they're still desperately clutching the remnants of Bear Bryant, Charlie McClendon and Vince Dooley.

The marquee outside the stadium will promo it as: SEC's No. 1 offense vs. SEC's No. 1 defense.

But it's more than that. It's the conference's Cherished Past vs. the Inevitable Wave of the Future.

Georgia may go down as last dinosaur in the most powerful football conference ever constructed.

And the Bulldogs won't go down without a fight. You can still win with defense, the tried and true way.

But dem Dawgs must feel like LSU would be the last school to come galavanting in flashing all that offensive bling while paying scant heed to old-fashioned, hard-nosed defense.

So the Bulldogs must feel betrayed. Imagine when the Tigers show up at the fancy new Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Saturday.

UGA: Whoaaa, Tiger, say it ain't so.

LSU: What?

UGA: Those fancy new wheels you're driving.

LSU: Mid-life crisis, I guess. You like?

UGA: You look like a dad-blamed fool tooling around in that thing. You forget who you are?

LSU: We like it. Chicks dig it.

UGA: But, but … you, of all people? You think you know a person and …

LSU: Had to do it.

UGA: Where do you think you are, the Big 12?

LSU: Look around, man, this league is changing, too. Even Saban.

UGA: Where'd you get those wheels?

LSU: Kind of from the Saints; kid from there did a knockoff version. But it's all street legal.

UGA: What you got in that thing?

LSU: The "spread," they call it, with the "no-huddle" carburetor, goes zero to 60 in about a half-second and spews out points like Fourth of July fireworks.

UGA: What kind of mileage you getting?

LSU: I think it's 48.7 points per game, but we lose count sometimes. It just burps up touchdowns is all I know, 390 a game in the air, 170 on the ground. Fans lap it up.

UGA: But you'd been winning.

LSU: Not enough to suit those Louisiana folks. Had to figure a way to score more points, make the defense proud.

UGA: Didn't seem to bother you when we were in Baton Rouge last year. Beat us like a drum, 36-16, with good, honest football.

LSU: Aberration. Couple of weeks later, didn't score a point against Alabama, not one. That was probably the final straw.

UGA: Wouldn't mind joining you, but we've been recruiting for grunt football. Arkansas coach got hisself fired trying to gerrymander one of those things with square pegs in round holes.

LSU: That's the crazy thing. Don't know what the Hogs were doing. But it was seamless here. That sucker worked first time, right out of the box, batteries included. Had to make a few adjustments to get the running game going, but mostly it's just sending a half-dozen or so jackrabbits out and throwing ‘em the ball. Even tight ends. Who knew?

UGA: When do you huddle?

LSU: Huddle? What's a huddle? That's so 1990s. Waste of time, it turns out.

UGA: What about defense?

LSU: De-what?

UGA: De-fense.

LSU: Uh, yeah, we still have one. I think.

UGA: Yeah, but it must put pressure on the defense, all these lightning quick-scoring drives.

LSU: We're working on that. Actually had an encouraging game against Texas A&M last week.

UGA: LSU is defense. Always was.

LSU: I said we're working on it.

UGA: You win with defense.

LSU: Well, yeah, but, uh … you know, hardly miss it to be honest with you.

UGA: You can't win in this league without sound defense.

LSU: You just keep scoring touchdowns. All you need is a stop or two, maybe a turnover.

UGA: Dang foolest thing I ever heard of. You just trying to be somebody you ain't. Us, we'll dance with the one done brought us.

LSU: Good luck. But you'll be joining us one day.


Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at shobbs@americanpress.com

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