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SEC Championship Game Holds Significant For Cincinnati Bengals Players

There are nine players on the current Bengals roster who went to the schools scheduled to play the SEC Championship game on Saturday.

Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

College Football enters the so-called championship weekend, with the SEC, ACC, Big Ten and Conference USA determining the champions for their respective conferences. The SEC championship (4 PM, CBS) is especially notable because the winner between Alabama and Georgia won't just become the SEC Champion, they're heading to the National Championship game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Sun Life Stadium in Miami.

It's as close to a playoff scenario we'll experience in college football. Win and you're in. Lose and your season ends.

Players inside the Cincinnati Bengals locker room are especially interested, writes Jay Morrison with the Dayton Daily News.

That's because there are six former Georgia Bulldogs on Cincinnati's roster today, including Geno Atkins, A.J. Green, Clint Boling, Orson Charles, Robert Geathers and Dennis Roland.

"All of the Georgia guys are planning on watching it together," Boling said. "It might be in the hotel, or we might go out somewhere because we have the afternoon free after our walk-through."

Alabama is also represented in Cincinnati, with offensive tackle Andre Smith, cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and defensive linemen Wallace Gilberry. Will they watch the game with the Georgia crew? Morrison continues.

One thing Boling was sure of is that he won’t be watching it with Smith.

"I don’t want to listen to him if Alabama is winning," he said.

Notre Dame grads Jeff Faine and Trevor Robinson also will have a vested interest because the Fighting Irish will play the Alabama-Georgia winner in the BCS National Championship game.

"Part of me is rooting for Georgia but part of me is saying if we don’t play Alabama, people will always say ‘Well, you didn’t have to beat (Alabama coach Nick Saban),’" Robinson said. "But we’re in the national championship. We’ll take on all challengers."

Boling continues (via Joe Reedy with the Cincinnati Enquirer) looking into the game itself.

"It will be a good game. (Quarterback) Aaron Murray has to play well. He struggled early on against Florida but I think if he plays well they have a shot," offensive guard Clint Boling said. "It’s good to see them back."

The game might additional meaning for Cincinnati's brass, who have drafted a Georgia Bulldog in each of the previous four NFL drafts, totaling seven during the Marvin Lewis era. The SEC Championship game kicks off around 4 PM on CBS Saturday afternoon.