Arthur Lynch of the Georgia Bulldogs kneels dejected after losing the 2012 SEC Championship to the Alabama Crimson Tide at Georgia Dome on December 1, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY Sports - GAME ON blog
Should Georgia have spiked the ball?
After forcing Alabama into a punt with 1:16 left in the fourth quarter, Georgia took over at its own 15-yard line, down 32-28, needing a touchdown.
The Bulldogs moved downfield through the air, with the exception of one Todd Gurley run to convert on third down with 1:02 left. The Bulldogs were also fortunate to have an interception by Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner reviewed and overruled with 56 seconds on the clock.
Fast-forward. After officials overturn the initial ruling of an interception, Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray finds tight end Arthur Lynch for 15 yards, wide receiver Tavarres King for 23 yards and Lynch, once again, for 26 yards.
There are 15 seconds left when Murray and Georgia get back up to the line, at the Alabama eight, after Lynch's second catch. What do you do? Spike it?
Here's what happened: Murray lines up the offense, gives out a signal, gets the shotgun snap and looks immediately right. The play is either a fade route or a back-shoulder throw to wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell, who is split out wide to the right - that's what the play was supposed to be.
The play is doomed after Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley tips Murray's pass along the line of scrimmage. Instead of heading into the end zone, the ball flutters, dips and falls into the hands of sophomore Chris Conley, who then slips and falls to the ground. Georgia has no timeouts.
Five, four, three, two, one...
This isn't a case of improper clock management, per se. Georgia got the play off with plenty of time. If Murray's pass falls incomplete or out of the end zone, the Bulldogs still have time for at least one, and perhaps two more plays before the clock expires.
But you have to wonder: Should Georgia have spiked the ball, regrouped and gone back after Alabama's defense with fresher eyes? Would that have helped the offensive line protect Murray?
Better yet, would a break have led a coach or teammate to say to the group, "Remember, just bat the ball down if it pops into the air."
It's something to consider. At the same time, on the other hand, giving Alabama more time to catch its breath might have doomed Georgia's offense to a similar outcome.
"I'm ready to have a heart attack here, thinking about that last drive," Alabama coach Nick Saban said to CBS' Tracy Wolfson after the game.