With Lattimore out, Dogs’ hopes rest on Florida game

Mark Richt didn't like what he saw at Vanderbilt but his team's in a good situation.

Mark Richt didn't like what he saw at Vanderbilt but his team's in a good situation.

Not that anybody wants to see a great athlete have his season ended by an injury. But could anything more possibly go right for Georgia?

South Carolina has lost running back Marcus Lattimore for the season with a torn knee ligament. Lattimore was the key to the SEC East title last season. It was reasonable to think the Gamecocks might be able to overcome the personal and career meltdowns of quarterback Stephen Garcia and still win the division if they could get reasonable play from backup Connor Shaw. But losing Lattimore might be too much.

What does that mean for the Bulldogs? Just this: Beat Florida in two weeks and there’s a good chance they’ll be in the SEC championship game (against either Alabama or LSU).

Consider the top three teams in the East and the remaining schedule:

SOUTH CAROLINA (4-1): The Gamecocks hold a tiebreaker edge over the Dogs for their win in game two. They probably will still win their game at Tennessee in two weeks, but sweeping the final two games at Arkansas and home against Florida will be difficult. Actually, they could lose both of those games. A split leaves them at 6-2. But minus Lattimore, 5-3 may be more likely.

GEORGIA (4-1): If the Dogs sweep their final three conference games against Florida, Auburn and Kentucky – all at home – they’ll almost certainly win the division with a 7-1 record. If they beat the Gators, they’ll eliminate Florida and likely finish at least 6-2 (assuming a win over Kentucky). In that scenario, they would need South Carolina to lose to both Arkansas and Florida (assuming a win over Tennessee). If the Dogs to Florida, they probably would drop a game back, allow the Gators back in the race and lose tiebreakers to both division competitors. They could finish 7-1, 6-2 or 5-3.

FLORIDA (2-3): The Gators need to sweep their final three games to have a shot in the East. That’s possible, particularly if injured quarterback John Brantley comes back from a leg injury. (Coach Will Muschamp said he hopes to get Brantley back for the Georgia game.) After Georgia, Florida’s only remaining SEC games are against Vanderbillt and South Carolina. They’ll finish 5-3, 4-4 or 3-5.

Most of the Dogs’ shortcomings were on display at Vanderbilt Saturday night. Mistakes and the lack of discipline upset coach Mark Richt. But they’ve won five straight and getting back to the SEC title game now may hinge on just beating Florida. Which, of course, has been a problem over the last two decades.

By Jeff Schultz

Follow me on Twitter (@JeffSchultzAJC). Friend me on Facebook (Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC).

374 comments Add your comment

Buzz ME

October 16th, 2011
7:54 pm

First! Who cares about the overrated crimeDAWGS

ramblingbuzz

October 16th, 2011
7:56 pm

ugag still has to play Auburn.

tulsabravo

October 16th, 2011
7:56 pm

Dogs still need to improve in so many areas, but at least they’re still in it.

Wilson

October 16th, 2011
7:56 pm

Astropig

October 16th, 2011
7:58 pm

I think that you are counting SC out wayyyyyyyy too early. True, Lattimore makes them a MUCH better team, but they still have some weapons. Shaw actually looked like a QB yesterday,so I would keep the chamapagne on ice for the moment, Dawg fans.

ramblingbuzz

October 16th, 2011
7:59 pm

and besides, whoever plays in the championship game from the SECleast is going to get lit up by Bama or LSU. Would it be a moral victory to get to that game?

Dennis Green

October 16th, 2011
8:03 pm

The Dawgs are who we thought they were. THEY ARE WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE!!!

BUZZoff

October 16th, 2011
8:06 pm

BWAHAHAHAhahAhAhahaha..Virginia!?! WHO’S OVERRATED? Oh yeah, those Ladies on Grant Field. LOLOLOL. At this rate you’ll be 6-6 to finish the season…here come a six game slide for the Tech Powder Puffs. Bwaaahahahahahaha. Overrated…hilarious.

Dawglasville

October 16th, 2011
8:06 pm

Finishing the season 10-2 would be a nice thing no matter what happens in the SEC Championship game. We still have 3 tough, yet do able, games ahead of us. We are not a lock. Lose 2 of the games and Richt is right back in the fire.

San Diego Dawg

October 16th, 2011
8:07 pm

Glad we won 5 in a row, but if anyone has any misgivings that this is a good team, you are fooling yourself. The cumulative SEC record of the SEC teams we have beaten is something like 1-13. Our record is a product of the schedule more so than improving. Yeah, we are a little better, but we are not a great team. Plus, we have to beat Florida and we all know how good we are at that.

I am happy to be winning, but I expect we’ll lose at least one more time if not more. Sorry to be Debbie Downer, but that is just what I have come to expect from this team.

Shabba Ranks

October 16th, 2011
8:08 pm

Astropig

I don’t know which game you watched. Chickens are done.

Matthews Dawg

October 16th, 2011
8:08 pm

1st UGA fan!! Go Dawgs!!

Matthews Dawg

October 16th, 2011
8:08 pm

Well 3rd now!! We are in it and that is all that matters!! Go Dawgs!!

oldbird

October 16th, 2011
8:09 pm

Dawgs will kick Bama or LSU in the butt in SEC championship game.

stendek

October 16th, 2011
8:12 pm

It is what it is Jeff. Sorry Bill. I love Dawg football. Have for over half a century. What I have seen over the last few seasons is not UGA football. In no way, shape or form. It hurts when a win is met with a sigh of relief instead of unbridled excitement. The Vandy victory still feels like a loss to me. I called the punt block. Thought it would be block then scoop for Commodore triumph. Glad I was wrong. Sort of. If it takes loss like that to get Saint Mark Wretch out then so be it. These Dawgs are unmotivated and totally uninspired. Never thought my guys would fall onto par with Vandy. It has happened. Only blindest cannot see change is mandatory for Dawg success. Win out or not! Sigh. :(

wild one 13

October 16th, 2011
8:13 pm

I does not matter who the east sends to Atlanta as long as they take plenty of trainers. Bama or Lsu will make any team from the East sorry they made the trip.

TrishaDishaWarEagle

October 16th, 2011
8:14 pm

Its a 3 way race to see who gets SLAUGHTERED in the Ga Dome against LSU/Alabama, basically…

BTW I think i could lip read why Grantham was upset..he was saying that Vandy purposely blew the point spread and he lost hundreds of dollars..

For those interested, UGA fan conspiracy committee meets every Thursday at the Athens zaxbys, under the banner of Cam Newton holding a pitchfork..the passphrase is E Pluribus Herschel

Astropig

October 16th, 2011
8:19 pm

“Chickens are done.”

Well, they still get Florida in Columbia. Arky will most likely spank them in Fayetteville, Tennessee will put up a fight,but SC has more weapons. It really comes down to Florida for both SC and UGA. I doubt anybody will be calling Charlie Weis an offensive genius after being shut out of the end zone by Auburn (who gave up 38 pts. to Utah State)

Florida won’t win it, but will determine who does.

Spike

October 16th, 2011
8:20 pm

Just beat the damn Gators! And Tech, Richt owns you!

Spike

October 16th, 2011
8:21 pm

And how much are the Gators paying Charlie Weis?

browndog

October 16th, 2011
8:23 pm

UGA is NOT an over powering team, but a win is a win. USC has lived on the edge all year as well so should get interesting. Got to win out and then see what happens.

TrishaDishaWarEagle

October 16th, 2011
8:23 pm

@Astropig

In Florida’s defense, I think their backup punter was playing QB by the end of the game :)

Not a Tech fan

October 16th, 2011
8:24 pm

How telling that, after their loss to UVA, the first two posters on a UGA article are Tech fans. Envy the big brother much?

country boy

October 16th, 2011
8:24 pm

Dawgs play Florida AT HOME ?? hhmmm

TrishaDishaWarEagle

October 16th, 2011
8:27 pm

….”Dawgs will kick Bama or LSU in the butt in SEC championship game.”

For your own health, put the jug down and back away from the moonshine!!!!

I have NO love for bama or LSU, as both will probably stomp AU this year, but they sure as hell will stomp whoever reps the east this year..

TrishaDishaWarEagle

October 16th, 2011
8:29 pm

Although, to avoid a recruiting disaster in a 50 point blowout, they could just have Frantham come out, throw a punch at Saban or Miles, and forfeit the game..

TrishaDishaWarEagle

October 16th, 2011
8:29 pm

Russ, the Temporary Mascot

October 16th, 2011
8:31 pm

Coach Grantham has some surprises up his sleeve for Florida. We heard he’s going to pull some pranks on the coaches over there. I wouldn’t be surprised if he starts some fights and puts out a few choke signs in Jacksonville. The Ga State Patrol can get us in and out of there safely whatever he does. No more arrests for us.

Army Vet

October 16th, 2011
8:32 pm

Looks like UGA coaches are just as classless as the thug players.

Spike

October 16th, 2011
8:34 pm

Trisha.. Get me a beer.

TrishaDishaWarEagle

October 16th, 2011
8:35 pm

Sure thing, I’ll throw you a beer..you want it in the head or the groin?

Worm

October 16th, 2011
8:36 pm

Lattimore can’t get to the NFL quickly enough…20-28 carries per game in the SEC in brutal..One more season and he’s gone.Spurrier is only looking out for Himself!

Spike

October 16th, 2011
8:40 pm

The groin, while you iron my shirts.

kerryb

October 16th, 2011
8:41 pm

See how obsessed Tech fans are with UGA. They LOST Saturday and they are the first two on the blog trying to talk smack. Hey win 9 out of the last 10 and you can talk smack. Until then shut the hell up!!!!!

TampaGator

October 16th, 2011
8:43 pm

I just hope Brantley and Demps are 100 percent for the game…..that would be good. The Gators still know that a win over Georgia reopens the door that is almost shut.

Russ, the Temporary Mascot

October 16th, 2011
8:44 pm

Well, at least we’re not going to Shreveport this year. I think we’ll get to the Liberty Bowl and I for one will be glad to be there. There are some good barbecue places and a couple dog parks there that I want to try out. If Coach Grantham is still with the team maybe we’ll break into Graceland late at night and start some fights before the game. Bowl trips can be a lot of fun when you do them right. This is like Miami football and I am waiting for somebody to be busted with a gun. Not sure whether it will be a player or a coach.

C. Tampa Ironworse

October 16th, 2011
8:45 pm

When Richt was building houses and whatnot in BFE this summer, I hope he built one for himself. This guy is a “character guy” coaching non-character players and hiring non-character coaches. So he needs to focus on his South American missions since he can’t seem to make a positive impact on people who speak english and that work/play for him at UGA.

Columbus

October 16th, 2011
8:46 pm

ACTUALL SC could lose ALL 3. Why do you say probably win at Tennesse in 2 weeks? With Lattimore “probably”. Without him, there is no “probably” against any SEC team. Tennessee is at LEAST even up with SC at this point and Tenn be at home. Stop the run and make em pass is not too hard to do now, or stop the pass and make em run. That is definitely a winnable game for Tenn. Florida tougher than Tenn at home? Florida CANT SCORE, Tenn can and SC will be at home against Florida. Sc will not be doing much scoring against anyone. No wonder when the games have gotten tougher, somebody is not so well on their picks with this kind of thinking……

If Brantley makes it back, Florida will be a tough game for UGA no doubt but UGA will be pumped up and play a great game. UGA has favor this year so expect a win against Florida thanks to the wake-up call they just got against Vandy. It came at the BEST time possible and I, for one, am extremely glad UGA beat Vandy but got the scare! Because they did not play a good game defensively. Also 2 weeks to prepare is going to make a huge difference as will having Mitchell, Crowell and Ogletree in the lineup full speed. Go Dawgs!

SEC championship bound….Suck on that Haters!

TampaGator

October 16th, 2011
8:47 pm

Spike…..

Charlie Weis had nothing to do with Brantley getting hurt and forcing him to play two true freshmen at QB. The Gators offense was potent before that happened. Driskel and Brissett are going to be really good….but they aren’t right now…..and the Gators have no game changing receivers at all. He will teach the two QBs and the Gators will recruit the receivers they need for Weis’ offense….you can bet on that.

kerryb

October 16th, 2011
8:47 pm

TampaGator. The door IS shut. It’s actually slammed shut.

kerryb

October 16th, 2011
8:48 pm

Gator fans will run Muschamp out of town in 2 years just like they did the Zooker.

TampaGator

October 16th, 2011
8:49 pm

keeryb…..

Yet another well thought out post from you. Good job.

TampaGator

October 16th, 2011
8:49 pm

Another one……..and so original in thought as well.

C. Tampa Ironworse

October 16th, 2011
8:50 pm

Everyone DOES realize that UGA would play LSU or Bama…and get totally destroyed, right?

kerryb

October 16th, 2011
8:52 pm

The reason is that Florida fans wont be patient with the struggles. Zook left Meyer with a lot of good players and he one the lottery with the 2nd best player in college football history. He road him to a NC then when the struggles started he left Muschamp with a pretty good track team but no football players. I think a Tampa Newspaper columnist wrote a story about that.

TampaGator

October 16th, 2011
8:52 pm

Columbus…..

Mitchell coming back is more of a threat than the other players. Crowell has a lot to learn and needs to get bigger and stronger. LBs have a difficult time stitting out games and coming back right away and having an impact, no matter how good they are. It takes times to get back into the speed of the game.

Tim in B'ham

October 16th, 2011
8:53 pm

The lackluster performance in Nashville is probably a good thing. Coaches shouldn’t have a problem getting their attention. With 2weeks to prepare and the return of Tree, Washington, Mitchell and a healthy Crowell we will be ready to play our best game of the year!
GO DAWGS!!!

kerryb

October 16th, 2011
8:53 pm

C. Tampa Ironworse, Maybe. All you can ask for is a chance to strap on the helmet and compete for it. What happens, happens.

Columbus

October 16th, 2011
8:54 pm

Now COME ON, as much as I would like UGA to win the SEC, any reasonable person or UGA fan will not expect UGA to beat LSU or Bama. UGA will have a chance because they made it to the game but thats about it. There would have to be SIGNIFICANT improvement for UGA to even keep the game close and a masterful game plan worked to near perfection. UGA would have to grow up a lot in the next month and I dont see that happening. A great game plan could keep it close for awhile, but in the end, there is not much hope of beating LSU or Bama. Come on…..

Go Dawgs!

kerryb

October 16th, 2011
8:54 pm

TampaGator, the same goes for QB’s. Even if you get Brantley back he hasn’t taken a snap in what, four weeks? No way he will be sharp.