Florida prepares for the mystique of Alabama in SEC title game

Posted at 4:09 PM, Dec 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-15 17:43:21-05

The Florida Gators will play No. 1 Alabama (10-0) in the 2020 SEC Championship Game on Saturday in Atlanta.

Eleventh-ranked Florida (8-2) is making its first appearance in the SEC title game since 2016 when they lost to the Crimson Tide. The Gators have not won an SEC title since 2008.

Gators senior offensive lineman Stewart Reese cautions his teammates to not get caught up in the mystique of playing perennial powerhouse Alabama.

“I remember my first time playing Alabama back in 2017,” Reese said, referring to his time at Mississippi State. “I was like, my eyes got so big when I saw them out there. I was like, ‘dang, I’m really playing Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide. I’m really out here doing this.’”

Alabama has beaten all 10 of its SEC opponents this season by double digits.

“It’s one of those experiences you just step out there on faith,” Reese added. “Like I said, it’s the SEC Championship, we literally have nothing to lose.”

Florida comes into the game as a 17-point underdog.

“Nobody wants to be an underdog,” Florida wide receiver Trevon Grimes said. “At the end of the day, being an underdog can put a chip on your shoulder to make you go that much harder. I feel like that chip on the shoulder comes from the loss last week (against LSU). We’re going to use that loss as motivation to come out here and do what we have to do.”

Florida’s College Football Playoff hopes are on life support after last week’s loss to unranked LSU. But the Gators have a solid team with quarterback Kyle Trask as a top contender for the Heisman Trophy and the return of tight end Kyle Pitts, who missed the LSU game due to injury.

Pitts is a projected first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. He has 36 catches for 641 yards and a team-high 11 touchdowns despite miss two and a half games this season.

“It will be huge,” Gators offensive coordinator Brian Johnson said. “He’s obviously one of the best players, the best player in America. any time you have him it’s a huge plus and huge addition to our offense.”

Saturday’s SEC Championship Game kicks off at 8 p.m. ET at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta.