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Georgia Bulldogs Fanatic Jeff Foxworthy Will Watch SEC Championship From His Couch — On Or Under It

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This is not just Georgia’s football team trying to win a big one Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in the SEC Championship Game (3 p.m. central, CBS).

It is for the Atlanta Falcons, too, and the oft-sports-tormented city of Atlanta. The No. 1 Bulldogs (12-0) are a touchdown favorite to beat No. 3 Alabama (11-1).

But Jeff Foxworthy, diehard Georgia fan, Atlanta native and famous southern fried comedian, is worried.

“It’s not just Georgia,” he said on the Paul Finebaum Show Friday in Atlanta. “Most of the people who live in Atlanta – we still have the Falcons. So, you have the 28-3 Super Bowl lead that we blew.”

The Falcons lost Super Bowl LI, 34-28, to New England after blowing that 25-point lead in the third quarter on Feb. 5, 2017.

And Georgia led Alabama, 13-0, at halftime of the national championship game on Jan. 8, 2018. But Alabama coach Nick Saban replaced struggling sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurts with little-used freshman Tua Tagovailoa, and the Tide came back to tie it, 20-20, and send it into overtime. Georgia took a 26-23 lead with the first possession of OT. Then Jonathan Ledbetter and David Bellamy sacked Tagovailoa for a 16-yard loss.

“We had Alabama second and 26 in the national championship game,” Foxworthy said.

If Georgia holds the line, Alabama has to kick a field goal of 50 to 58 yards or so to tie.

But on the next play, Tagovailoa hit wide receiver DeVonta Smith for a 41-yard, walk-off touchdown for the 26-23 Alabama win and its second national title in three years.

“And so we’ve had so many scars that even a year like this, where people outside of the Georgia circle are saying to me, ‘Aw, dude, y’all are going to kill ’em,’ I will be watching the game by myself in a chair like this,” Foxworthy said as he cringed into a corner and covered his eyes.

“Until we get past Saban, because to me, Saban’s the greatest college football coach of all time,” he said. “If you think back to that ’17 game, it took a lot of cojones to put in a true freshman at halftime.”

Georgia also came three yards away from beating Alabama in the 2012 SEC Championship Game. Trailing 32-18 in the final seconds, quarterback Aaron Murray hit Arthur Lynch for 26 yards to the Alabama 8-yard line. With no timeouts left, Georgia snapped the ball with :09 remaining, and Murray threw to an open receiver in the corner of the end zone. But the ball was deflected at the line, and fullback Chris Conley instinctively caught it but fell at the 5-yard line. And the final seconds ticked off before Georgia could get off another play.

Had Conley dropped the ball on purpose, Georgia would have got another play.

Saban hugged Georgia coach Mark Richt hard after the game and tried to console him.

“I’m ready to have a heart attack right here,” Saban said.

In a rare show of anger, Richt pounded his fist on the media table as he waited for the postgame press conference to start. He knew what had just happened. He had just lost his best chance to win a national championship for Georgia, and he never came close again.

Alabama, instead, advanced to the BCS national championship game and easily beat Notre Dame and coach Brian Kelly (now at LSU), 42-14. Georgia would have likely also won that game.

Saban has won his last six against Georgia, including three against current Georgia coach Kirby Smart, who is a former defensive coordinator at Alabama under Saban and replaced Richt in 2016.

“I think until you cut the dragon’s head off, the dragon is always going to be the dragon,” Foxworthy said. “And I hope that’s what we do tomorrow.”

Foxworthy likes this Georgia team’s chances better than the 2017 team that finished 13-2 in Smart’s second season.

“You look at it on paper, this team is different,” he said. “This team is older. It makes a difference. And this team, I can see it. I went out and watched summer practice, and I’m like, ‘They’re different.’ This is a lot of player-led stuff up here.”

Smart echoed Foxworthy’s comments on a teleconference on Sunday.

“The 2017 group had some really good leaders on it,” Smart said. “That team wasn’t fully recruited by our staff, where this year all these guys have been recruited by the staff. They seem to connect well. This is an older team.”

Still, Foxworthy will be sweating. Finebaum asked him what he would do if Alabama took a 10-0 early lead.

“Oh yeah, sure, I’m probably under the couch,” he said.

Follow along on Twitter: @LSUBeatTweet

Written by Glenn Guilbeau

Guilbeau has been on the LSU beat since 1998 with multiple outlets in Louisiana, prior to that he had covered both Auburn and Alabama. He won first place for his game feature on LSU's upset at Florida last season from the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). He was also named Beat Writer of Year, by Louisiana Sports Writers Association in July; placed in three Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) categories – Beat Writer, Explanatory, Game Coverage – last spring. Guilbeau was also the FWAA first-place winner for columns in 2017 and was also the top overall winner in 2016 FWAA placing first for his game story, second in columns, and receiving honorable mention for features.

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