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November 24, 2012

On to Atlanta, and beyond

TUSCALOOSA | The second-ranked University of Alabama football wasn't content Saturday to just punch its ticket to the Southeastern Conference Championship Game. The Crimson Tide also punched out its cross-state rival, knocking out the already-reeling Auburn Tigers with a 49-0 victory at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Alabama (11-1, 7-1) clinched the SEC Western Division championship and earned a berth against third-ranked Georgia in next weekend's league title game in the Georgia Dome, with the winner expected to advance to the Jan. 7 BCS National Championship Game in Miami.

UA scored on its first seven possessions against Auburn and was able to let its backups take over midway through the third quarter. AJ McCarron threw four touchdown passes, two each to Amari Cooper and Kevin Norwood, and Eddie Lacy ran for 131 yards and two scores.

"I guess it was just one of those days," Norwood said. "We were just clicking on all cylinders."

While Auburn (3-9, 0-8) will be making decisions about the future of its program, and whether to retain its coaching staff in the wake of a season where it failed to win a single SEC game, Alabama will begin preparing for Georgia. The SEC title game will kick off next Saturday at 3 p.m. and be televised by CBS.

Alabama is college football's defending national champion, but won the Bowl Championship Series crystal trophy without winning the SEC in 2011.

"To me, all those (SEC championship) games that I've been a part of, they are about as good as any game in the country other than the national championship game," Alabama coach said Saban said.

Said Lacy, "We take any motivation we can. Now we know we can win the SEC and have a shot at the national championship. It all goes into our motivation and preparation."

TideSports.com Recruiting: More than 50 Iron Bowl visitors

Reach Tommy Deas at tommy@tidesports.com or at 205-722-0224.

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