By: Eric SanInocencio
SEC Digital Network
Atlanta, Ga. -- The SEC Championship Game is here! After another stellar football season, two teams have advanced to meet for conference glory at the Georgia Dome on Saturday. Throughout the week, I'll be taking pictures, trying to give the SEC nation a behind the scenes look and feel to what goes on in Atlanta.
Thursday is the "Calm Before the Storm", as the field gets set up and ready for both teams and their fans. As you'll see in the photos below, areas that will be jammed packed on Saturday are now empty and waiting. It is almost eerie.
The Georgia Locker Room
One of the cooler parts about being here is watching the transformation of the Georgia Dome from the home of the Atlanta Falcons to the home of the SEC Championship Game. As you can see in the photo below, the imagery over this locker room now features the Georgia Bulldogs, complete with photos of Mark Richt and a few Bulldog fans.
LSU In The House
Right down the road from Georgia's dressing spot, you'll find the LSU set up. The purple on the wall really stands out, and the locker room itself is just feet from the entrance that Les Miles' bunch will enter out of on Saturday.
The Georgia Dome
Just in case you didn't know, you are still in the Georgia Dome. This sign is one of many you'll encounter along the back halls of the facility here.
The Official Welcome Sign
As you'll see in the next two photos, the SEC and the Georgia Dome have a great relationship. This year is special in general, as it serves as the 20-year anniversary of the SEC Championship Game. Prior to a operational meeting on a level of the building, you saw this bank of televisions sharing a special message to the conference staff.
Time For Some Cake
As I mentioned earlier, celebration is in order this year. To culminate that 20-year history, the Georgia Dome staff made a cake to present to the league. I didn't get a chance to eat a slice, but it sure looked pretty good. Or maybe I was just that hungry at the time.
A Look At The Past
There are several plaques adorning the walls here of the Georgia Dome, and one caught my eye as I walked the corridors. There is a special tribute to former SEC Commissioner Roy Kramer, a plaque dedicated to his honor. Check it out below.
Field Goals Anyone?
The transformation continued, as I finally made my way to the field. The end zones are team painted, and the goal posts themselves now mirror the SEC colors.
The field itself is littered with logos, signs and imprints of both teams competing. As you can see below, the LSU logo is etched in the turf at around the 25 yard-line.
Here's a wide shot of the goal posts, with the seats and end zone all facing the East (from the press box view) of the stadium. Not bad seats I can't imagine if you could get your hands on them.
Overlooking It All
As I made my way up to the press box, the silence once again caught my eye. On Saturday, that area will be filled with writers and reports from around the entire country. Now? It is just a quiet space that I have set up as an office. Here's my view as I typed up this photoblog.
What We Are Here For
As if you needed a reminder, all this is happening for one thing, to determine the SEC Champion for the 2011 season. I was able to find the trophy on my way back down. Who will take this home with them on Saturday night? We will see.