Here are 5 UGA players you should watch for at the SEC Championship
Florida’s Tim Tebow and Georgia’s Matt Stinchcomb are no strangers to the spotlight of SEC football games. Each had storied careers during their times at rival schools.
Stinchcomb was an All-American offensive lineman for the University of Georgia in late 1990s. Tim Tebow won a Heisman trophy and led the Gators to multiple SEC Championship games and a national championship while at the University of Florida from 2006-2009.
The pair are now working on the same team ahead of Saturday’s SEC championship game. Each are part of the SEC Network, where they analyze games each week, but are also on the Allstate Good Works team. The Allstate team selects players every year from teams all across the country who give back to their communities off the field. Many continue working with the team long after they graduate, like Tebow and Stinchcomb.
For their roles on the SEC Network, each examined the upcoming game from all the angles. Each had similar takes on just how big the game will be.
“I think it is the biggest game of the weekend and it may go down as one of the biggest games of the year,” Tebow said in an interview with the Telegraph this week. “I think they are two of the four best teams in the country.”
Stinchcomb took it a step further.
“In some ways the 2018 SEC Championship is very similar to I think the 2012 SEC Championship, in that it is the de facto national championship game,” Stinchcomb said. “This will be the best game I think that we have seen thus far.”
Tebow is no stranger to playing Alabama in the SEC Championship game. His junior and senior season, his Florida Gators squared off with the Crimson Tide. The Gators prevailed the first time 31-20 but fell in his final SEC game 32-13. He says that the feel of the game is unlike any other and should be similar on Saturday.
“The atmosphere is awesome. It is split 50-50. Sometimes Alabama will sneak in a couple extra fans but not against Georgia. I think they are fighting for it,” he said. “My last two years, my junior and senior year against Alabama we truly believe that was the national championship game. This is going to be another one of those epic games.”
As a former lineman, Stinchcomb has his eye on a key matchup: one of Georgia’s best offensive lineman and one of the best defenders in the country.
“Lamont Gaillard is going to have to have his best game as a Georgia Bulldog versus one of the best defense players, not just lineman, in the country in Quinnen Williams,” Stinchcomb said. “He is going to have his work cut out for him.”
Tebow has examined all four quarterbacks that could potentially compete in the game. He says that combo of Georgia’s Jake Fromm and Justin Fields against Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts is an embarrassment of riches for the two teams.
“If there was a draft they would probably all be in the top 30 quarterbacks taken in the country,” he said. “In this game, I expect to see at least three out of the four (play).”
Despite Stinchcomb’s allegiance to Georgia, he remains unbiased when it comes to his prediction on the game Saturday night.
“I think that Georgia’s national championship year is probably next year,” Stinchcomb said.
For Tebow he says the fans will have to tune into SEC Nation, the weekly pregame show on SEC Network, to find out his final pick but he leaning towards Alabama. However, each team could be worthy of a playoff spot at the end of the game.
“I think if Georgia is able to win, I think both get into the playoff,” Tebow said. “I think if Alabama wins then Georgia is going to need a little bit of help depending on how the game goes.”
While they are gearing to help the SEC Network team on Saturday, they will also be helping lead another team in Atlanta in the days ahead of the game. The Allstate Good Works team will be working with Park Pride, a non-profit organization that works to improve parks throughout the Atlanta area, to make refurbishments to C.T. Martin Natatorium and Recreation Center.
This is a chance for players from around the country and the SEC to come together for a common cause said Stinchcomb. He says that he has had this event circled on his calender for awhile.
“They are great guys, they aren’t just great football players,” he said. “When you can be around people like that it is almost always a good day.”
The team will then put on a youth clinic for the kids in the area. It is an the opportunity to work with competitors from rival schools to show kids in the area that they love them and care for them, said Tebow.
“Obviously we will have a little trash talk especially between all the Georgia and Alabama guys today but you know, it is able to transcend the game,” he said. “This a team where doing something good is more important than winning and that is pretty special.”