ATLANTA (WSFA) - After the Auburn Tigers systematically dismantled the then-No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs on Nov. 11 by a score of 40-17, the Dawgs will get their chance for vengeance in the conference's biggest game.
The regular season AU/UGA series is almost tied. Georgia holds a one-win lead of 57-56-8 in "The Deep South's Oldest Rivalry". The tradition will continue but with a new wrinkle. They've never faced off in the SEC Championship Game...until now.
Auburn has made five appearances in the championship and has a 3-2 record.
- 1997 - No. 3 Tennessee beats No. 11 Auburn 30-29
- 2000 - No. 7 Florida beats No. 18 Auburn 28-6
- 2004 - No. 3 Auburn beats No. 15 Tennessee 38-28
- 2010 - No. 1 Auburn beats No. 19 South Carolina 56-17
- 2013 - No. 3 Auburn beats No. 5 Missouri 59-42
Georgia has also made five appearances in the championship and has a 2-3 record.
- 2002 - No. 4 Georgia beats No. 22 Arkansas 30-3
- 2003 - No. 3 LSU beats No. 5 Georgia 34-13
- 2005 - No.13 Georgia beats No. 3 LSU 34-14
- 2011 - No. 1 LSU beats No. 12 Georgia 42-10
- 2012 - No. 2 Alabama beats No. 3 Georgia 32-28
Since there's no history beyond the regular season for the two teams, what does the SEC Championship history tell us about Saturday's match up? Let's look at the numbers.
In the 25 games since its inception in 1992, the SEC Champion was the higher ranked team in 19 games, a trend that should favor Auburn. Only six times has the lower-ranked team played spoiler. Georgia was one of those teams, having knocked off a higher ranked LSU in 2005.
Then, there are the conference divisions. The West holds 14 trophies to the East's 11. That seems fairly balanced until you look at the streaks. The East dominated the game through the 1990s but in recent years it's been all SEC West with a streak of eight victories and nine of the last 10. This trend should also favor Auburn.
What about rematches? The championship game has involved teams that played each other in the regular season on six occasions and in just one instance did the regular season loser exact its vengeance. Both teams have experience with rematches in the big game (Auburn x2, Georgia x1) and none of those involved a spoiler. This trend should again favor Auburn.
Let's look at the records each team holds in its multiple trips to the championship:
Most of Auburn's SEC Championship records come in its two most recent trips to Atlanta, games against South Carolina and Missouri.
- Most points - Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn led his Tigers to 59 points against Missouri in 2013
(Also holds second place spot with 56 points against South Carolina in 2010 in which Malzahn was the offensive coordinator)
- Fewest points - Six points against Florida in 2000 also earns the Tigers the second lowest score in a championship game
- Largest win margin - The Tigers hold the record at 39 points in their trouncing of South Carolina
- Most points by quarter - When it comes to the first quarter, Auburn came out hotter than any other team with 21 points against South Carolina.
- Blown leads in the 4th quarter - One of four teams to ever blow the lead in the fourth, Auburn was up 29-23 in 1997 and lost to Tennessee.
Some of Georgia's records are less than desirable to own and they were earned in the 2011 game against LSU
- Fewest points - Georgia holds the fourth place spot with just 10 points scored against LSU in 2011
- Largest loss margin - Georgia is third on this list with its 32 point loss to LSU in 2011
- Longest game - Georgia and LSU battled for a record 3 hours and 56 minutes.
- Blown leads in the 4th quarter - Georgia also blew a fourth-quarter lead. The Dawgs were up 28-25 in 2012 before the Crimson Tide rallied for the win.
- Latest score to start a game - It took til a second-quarter pass from QB Aaron Murray to Jay Rome to put points on the board in 2012.
The coin toss. It starts the game and gives one team the choice of attempting to start the game's momentum in the first or second half. Auburn and Georgia have both won three tosses and lost two. In the games where they won the coin toss, Auburn is 2-1 and Georgia 1-2 in overall game wins.
And here's a final number to chew on. It deals with home team advantage. It's hard to see how Atlanta, where the championship is played, wouldn't be considered home-field advantage for a Georgia team, but there is a designation for "home" team that has nothing to do with the physical location of the game.
In even years, the East champ is the "home" team and in odd years that designation goes to the West champ. This year, Auburn is the "home team" and if trends hold, it will be the 15th home team to walk away with the trophy when the confetti falls Saturday night inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Of course, none of these numbers or statistics or records guarantee a win or a loss by either team. In the end, 60 minutes of football will be the only number that counts.
Can't get enough of the numbers? Here's everything you could ever desire about the game.