Happy Hump Day, Bulldog Nation. I hope your work week is going by quickly. On big game weeks like this one, it feels like Saturday can’t come fast enough. There are plenty of big games ahead for the Dawgs. However, the chapter that will be written Saturday feels like a big one for the Bulldogs. Georgia certainly has bigger goals than an SEC Eastern Division Championship, but I certainly don’t take the division crown lightly. As a program that’s been to the SEC Championship Game seven out of seventeen years, it can certainly be easy to overlook the achievement. Doing so ignores the fact that only winning the division twice in the last ten years of his tenure was as large part of Mark Richt’s undoing. It also ignores that a red hot Georgia team that looked unstoppable after the 2007 Florida game might have played for the national title if it had won its division and faced LSU in Atlanta.
Above any other reason, I don’t take the division championship lightly because it took ten years for Georgia to finally win one. I will never forget the joy of clinching it in 2002. Since the Dawgs find themselves in position to do the same thing in the same stadium this Saturday, and it’s always fun to remember a win over Auburn, we might as well take a look back.
That 2002 team and staff referred to their goal for that year as “blowing the lid off the program.” They did, and Georgia Football hasn’t returned to the days of eight win seasons since. This was kind of the “Berlin Wall” moment of my Georgia fandom, and 13-year old me watched them come through in a way that I had begun to think they never would again. I will never forget my Dad tearing up as the final seconds unfolded. It confused me, and I asked him why he was crying. All he could get out was, “It’s just been so long.” Let’s hope the Bulldogs have some of that same magic this Saturday at Auburn, and may we never suffer through a Goff-Donnan type of drought again.
Now the latest news and notes form the Bulldog Universe...
The College Football Playoff Committee released their weekly rankings last night, and your Georgia Bulldogs came in at #4 in the standings. The top of the rankings were as follows: #1 LSU, #2 Ohio State, #3 Clemson, #4 Georgia, #5 Alabama, #6 Oregon, #7 Utah, #8 Minnesota, #9 Penn State, #10 Oklahoma.
The Dawgs getting the nod for the fourth spot has induced a good deal of protest in Tuscaloosa, and Mark Bradley of the AJC says the rankings mean bad news for Alabama. I must admit a certain level of surprise on my behalf, but the rankings tell us a few things about wheat the committee values. First, it appears the folks running the CFP value a strong defense in this day and age of high-flying offenses. In that same vein, I do wonder if Alabama giving up 46 on their home field makes the committee doubt if the Tide is as well-rounded as in year’s past. Secondly, it looks like the committee is more interested in who has the best loss as opposed to the best win. Alabama’s loss to LSU is certainly a better one than Georgia’s defeat against South Carolina, but the TIde have only defeated two other teams with a winning record.
Georgia, on the other hand, has wins over the committee’s #11 and #16 teams in Florida and Notre Dame. Due to the weakness of their remaining schedule, this potentially spells trouble for the Tide. The Dawgs can help their cause even more by making sure that Auburn is a three loss team when the Iron Bowl comes around. Some commentators on ESPN’s rankings show last night even speculated that Georgia could make the playoff with a loss to Auburn if the Dawgs went on to beat LSU in Atlanta. Let’s hope we don’t have to consider that scenario.
The Dawgs matchup with the Tigeagleplainsthings is shaping up to be a low-scoring affair, and Christopher Smith explains why on AL.com. The books in Vegas opened this week with an over/under of 45.5 for the game. So much money has been put on the under that the line has now plummeted to 40. I follow the odds pretty closely, but I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen an over/under move that many points in such a short amount of time.
Another interesting subplot for Saturday involves standout freshman George Pickens. You may remember that the Hoover, Alabama native was once committed to Auburn, and flipped to the Bulldogs on signing day. Kirby Smart gave some insight on his recruitment this week, and it will be interesting to see how the fiery youngster responds in his return to the Plains. Senior Safety J.R. Reed said the older guys on the team will be looking out for the young receiver. That’s good to hear.
Reed’s mate at the safety position, Richard LeCounte is another dawg who could be key to the result of Saturday’s game. Check out this interesting profile of LeCounte from the AJC’s DawgNation.
The Hoop Hounds beat Citadel 95-86 last night to start the season 2-0.
While you’re here, have you read Macondawg’s piece on who we are yet? If not, there’s no time like the present.
Lastly, I still hate Auburn. Here’s hoping the Dawgs beat the Tigerplaineagles so badly that the Auburn Athletic Department’s jet is on its way to a clandestine meeting with Bobby Petrino come Sunday. Just kidding, keep Gus forever.
As always, GO DAWGS!