Championship Gameday! Fire up the grill and enjoy these six college football stories from around the country’s best conference.
"But when a decision is clearly presidential, the president decides - after listening to his senior advisors and all interested parties." C. Peter Magrath
But these two teams and these two programs got here in very different ways. For one team, it would be a validation that even its storied program has heights that it hasn't fully explored. And for the other team and the other coach, it would be the kind of redemption that seemed unimaginable two years ago, or even two months ago.
AJ McCarron's standard reply about handling big-game pressure is a shrug and a look that says, What's the big deal?
As far back as he can search in his mind, Mike Bobo and Kirby Smart have been friends. Their early days found them on opposing sidelines, years before they were teammates at Georgia in the late 1990s.
The Georgia Bulldogs are underdogs to Alabama this afternoon at the Southeastern Conference football championship in Atlanta, but what else would one expect?
"You don't win a gold medal by thinking about winning a gold medal," Saban said. "You win it by running the best race you can run."
The game may come down to which team can keep its focus. The approaches have been different. Mark Richt has talked about emotion this week, while Saban has talked about controlling emotions. His Friday analogy was a heavyweight fight - "you can throw a lot of punches in the first round, but you still need to be punching in the 15th round." He talked about control, about not being outcome-oriented, the same theme he has sounded all season.
It has worked, not perfectly, but well enough. Now, Alabama is here, controlling its destiny - and in a position to recapture the Missing Ring, the SEC championship, that eluded it a year ago.