Potential first: Georgia and Tech both playing for titles

Mark Richt and Paul Johnson have their teams in posiition for title shots.

Mark Richt and Paul Johnson have their teams in position for title shots. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

This didn’t seem possible when Georgia opened the season with losses to Boise State and South Carolina and Georgia Tech followed a 6-0 start with losses to Virginia and Miami: But both schools can all but assure themselves of a ticket to their respective conference championship game this week.

The Bulldogs and Jackets never have played for conference championships in the same season since the SEC (1992) and ACC (2005) split off into divisions, nor have they ever won conference titles in the same season.

Here’s the backdrop:

Georgia (5-1 in SEC plays) holds a half-game lead over South Carolina (5-2) in the SEC East and is a whopping 12½-point favorite over Auburn Saturday in Athens. If the Dogs win, they need to only beat Kentucky at home the following week to clinch the East. The Gamecocks’ final conference game is against Florida, which was Georgia’s last SEC victim. They hold a tiebreaker edge should the Dogs lose one of their two conference games.

Georgia Tech’s route is a little more difficult. The Yellow Jackets (4-2) trail Virginia Tech (4-1) by a half-game. But they play host to the No. 10 Hokies Thursday night. Most lines have Virginia Tech as a one-point favorite. Georgia Tech’s only other remaining ACC game is at Duke.

(UPDATE: Just to cover all bases: Virginia technically holds a tiebreaker over Georgia Tech. But the Cavaliers would need to sweep their remaining three games against Duke, Florida State on the road and Virginia Tech to win the Coastal.)

The Jackets are coming off an upset of then-No. 5 Clemson. Can they do it again?

Tech has been to the ACC championship game twice since the conference split into divisions in 2005: It lost the title game to Wake Forest in 2006 and defeated Clemson in 2009 (official records now show that championship as vacated by the NCAA, pending appeal).

Georgia has played in three SEC championship games: The Dogs defeated Arkansas in 20o2 and LSU in 2005, and lost to LSU in 2003.

In no year have the two schools won a football conference championship in the same season (both were in the SEC until Tech became an Independent in 1963 and later joined the  ACC).

So what are the chances both pull it off this week?

And then what would the chances be that both win championships? The likely opponents in the conference title games would be LSU for Georgia and Clemson for Georgia Tech.

Or should we just go one step at a time?

By Jeff Schultz

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

320 comments Add your comment

Sonny Clusters

November 7th, 2011
10:22 am

ramblingbuzz

November 7th, 2011
10:22 am

I guess that goes to show you it ain’t over til it’s over. Many Tech and UGA fans, not to mention some sports writers, had written both teams off after their 2 game losing streaks.

Jeff Schultz

November 7th, 2011
10:23 am

Ramblingbuzz — Done. (Editor sent out email reminder on that last week. Of course, I forgot.)

2010 BCS CHAMPS

November 7th, 2011
10:25 am

“Auburn has beaten both South Carolina and Florida and folks are burying them now after blowout losses to Arkansas and LSU.”

AUs only losses are to top 10 teams. UGA, not so much. Also, for AU to be 6-3 is pretty awesome since most of the so-called experts had them only winning 4 games all season.

2010 BCS CHAMPS

November 7th, 2011
10:25 am

Enter your comments here

Jeff Schultz

November 7th, 2011
10:26 am

Folks — Apologies but comments are going to appear out of order for a little while because I just changed from EDT to EST. Should resume in order in an hour.

robodawg

November 7th, 2011
10:26 am

Significant hurdles ahead for both UGA and GT this week. But if we both win out, expect this game on ABC with a significant national audience. Should be fun.

Our run defense is significantly improved from a year ago, both up the middle and holding the edge. That should give us the advantage over both Auburn and Tech. But since we’re prone to special teams breakdowns and bad turnovers, both games will probably come down to the wire.

gbal

November 7th, 2011
10:30 am

I take AU and the 12.5 all day…..

GO DAWGS.

WhoCares

November 7th, 2011
10:31 am

Doesn’t matter if Tech goes to the ACC Title game or not, their season will end with a loss again for the 10th year out of 11 against UGA.

North ave. faithful

November 7th, 2011
10:31 am

Thats would be quite a matchup if we are both 9-2 come nov 26!

reebok

November 7th, 2011
10:32 am

I think V-Tech has a 50/50 chance of beating my Yellow Jackets, and Auburn nearly 50/50 against UGA. Sure would love to see both teams wrap up spots in their conference champiosnhip games before meeting at Bobby Dodd stadium on the 26th! What a great atmosphere that would be!

WhoCares

November 7th, 2011
10:32 am

It doesn’t matter if Tech goes to the ACC Championship game, because for the 10th year out of 11, their season will end with yet another loss to UGA.

Joey

November 7th, 2011
10:35 am

Hope they both win their divisions.

2010 BCS CHAMPS

November 7th, 2011
10:36 am

Enter your comments here”Georgia and Tech both playing for titles”

With UGA getting totally humiliated on national tv.

2010 BCS CHAMPS

November 7th, 2011
10:36 am

“Thats would be quite a matchup if we are both 9-2 come nov 26!”

No not really. UGA hasn’t beaten one ranked team this year.

RAMBLE ON!!!

November 7th, 2011
10:36 am

one step at a time.

Beast from the East

November 7th, 2011
10:37 am

Both games should be close, but I’m picking UGA and Tech to win.

Evansdawg

November 7th, 2011
10:37 am

One at a time! The Auburn game having a 12.5 point spread makes me a bit squeamish. The ‘away’ team usually wins this one, and I cannot remember a UGA vs. AUB game where a spread of more than a touchdown has ever made sense.

Steve

November 7th, 2011
10:37 am

I was shocked to see UGA favored by 12.5. I figured it would be maybe 7.

Nooga Dawg

November 7th, 2011
10:37 am

Don’t care how Tech does, just know that their season ends with a LOSS on the 26th.

Dawg in Jax

November 7th, 2011
10:37 am

Holy cow – we are that much of a favorite against Auburn?! Better not let it get to our heads, I think the game will come down to a FG late, and this time I see Walsh actually making it. Jackets will have a very hard time against the Hokies, I see the Hokies taking that one.

jeff

November 7th, 2011
10:37 am

One step at a time! Good grief what is next, playing each other for the BCS title?
The puppies have a little easier time than the jackets but not to much. Remember the war ducks beat the gators as well so that is not that big of a deal and the east really stinks against the west.
As for the buzz, not to sure about them either. They played poorly against the other team from VA so who will show up is the key. Should be fun!

Chris

November 7th, 2011
10:38 am

I would like to see them both win divisions and then the DAWGS stomp Tech on November 26!

East Alabama Gator

November 7th, 2011
10:38 am

Jeff,

I agree about Auburn. I think that team is going to be trouble in the future, they are just very young. I saw first-hand at the Florida-Auburn game the enormous amount of young talent on Auburn’s roster. Whether Auburn fans like Chizik or not, I believe he has the program heading in the right direction.

WhoCares

November 7th, 2011
10:39 am

Actually UGA shouldn’t even be in this position. They should have already clinched a tie but they handed USC the win. That was a joke of a win for USC that shouldn’t have ever occured. But after everyone wanted CMR fired after that game, it would be something if UGA won out and went 10-2 with a birth in the SEC Championship game. And after seeing LSU’s offense on Saturday the Dawgs may even have a chance. Otherwise a trip to the Capital One or Cotton wouldn’t be that bad.

Sam Robards, Dawg Fan

November 7th, 2011
10:39 am

I’d say take things one step at a time, Jeff.

However, if we get to this situation, I’d say that both teams will have their minds elsewhere, to a certain extent. Not to say the game won’t matter, but in terms of what each team’s goals are (winning their respective conferences), it doesn’t.

But still, bragging rights are always on the line, and the Dawgs should make it three in a row. But first things first: beat Auburn!

And for curiosity’s sake, where did you get that line on the Auburn game?

Go Dawgs!

Ten Point Five

November 7th, 2011
10:40 am

This tech boy thinks UGA will win, but I will take the ten and a half points. Wow! A near even line makes sense for TECH vs tech. Go GT!!!

BobDawg

November 7th, 2011
10:40 am

Schutzie, have you seen the # of Points The Barners have given up on total D… The most in the SEC, I believe… We stop their run and should be pretty easy from there on….

GIVE ME A BREAK

November 7th, 2011
10:41 am

I agree with Jeff on the rematch talk between LSU and Ala. Alabama had their chance and failed, now leave the room. If there’s an undefeated team in the top 5 then they deserve a shot to play the #1 team.

Bill Clinton

November 7th, 2011
10:41 am

Georgia by 12.5? Take Auburn and the points. On second thought……, take Auburn.

Tech Fan

November 7th, 2011
10:41 am

You forget to mention GT would still need UVA to lose to either Duke or VT. They currently hold the tiebreak over the Jackets.

Handy Manny

November 7th, 2011
10:41 am

Tech BEATS Georgia !!!! Book it 41-31

Techie

November 7th, 2011
10:41 am

Glad your soooo sure of yourself Nooga Dawg. Glad your going to be disappointed :)

robodawg

November 7th, 2011
10:42 am

Correction: Tech left the SEC in 1963 to become an independent. They’ve been regretting that decision ever since.

SOGADOG

November 7th, 2011
10:43 am

The Dawgs can pull it off if they tighten up on special teams and eliminate the interceptions.

I hate Tech.

DawgJohn

November 7th, 2011
10:43 am

What happened to the best team money can buy? Now performing in Charlotte. Pay back time. Big time!

EasternDawg

November 7th, 2011
10:44 am

Georgia should beat auburn by 10-17 and will beat Tech worse. Tech’s defense is terrible. Murray and Crowell will light it up big.

DesignerJacket

November 7th, 2011
10:45 am

I’d like the national attention for this rivalry. But the roadblocks lie in Auburn and VPI. If these two can get over those two considerable humps then we have a very serious game on our hands!

2010 BCS CHAMPS

November 7th, 2011
10:45 am

“12½-point favorite over Auburn ”

I seem to remember USCe being favored by 2 touchdowns. This should be fun to watch.

Indy Jacket

November 7th, 2011
10:45 am

I love the state of Georgia,and their football,but the inconsistancy this year is killing me with the jackets,falcons ,and dawgs.Hell i even pull for Ga Southern and Valdosta state.And ive lived out of the state for nearly 20 years because my job takes me all over.And in every state i stick up for my state and all its teams but this year i have no answers. I never know which teams are gonna show up!

Typical UGA fan

November 7th, 2011
10:46 am

WE’Z GONE WIN THE TITLE!!! WOOF WOOF!!!!!!!!!!

Carew Rowell

November 7th, 2011
10:48 am

What? It is not likely. I would give us 50/50 shot at beating Auburn. We have the ability to win by 21 points. But we also have the ability to give them 28 points like we did against SC. You just don’t know with this team. Out of the big games we have played this year, we have only won one. That was Florida and they were terrible. Boise killed us. We got out coached and played in that game. And we all know about the SC game. Our record in a must win games lately has not been good in the past 3 years. Hopefully, we will find some character in this game and find a way to win. They did show some heart in the Florida game though. We need some more of that without all the mistakes. Go Dawgs!

wreckbuzz

November 7th, 2011
10:48 am

With all due respect to oddsmakers and Jeff Schultz, I think Auburn is just as formidable an opponent for Georgia as VT is for GT. Go look at VT’s schedule and try not to laugh at the wins they have. Beating Miami in Blacksburg by 3 points is the signature win for them. Yet they carry a top ten ranking. I just don’t see it. Last time VT came to Atlanta with the Coastal on the line it was the same scenario. GT wins.

I think Georgia wins too, but I think Auburn will present a challenge.

DesignerJacket

November 7th, 2011
10:48 am

Oh, and let’s not forget to add some trash talk: Hey, Georgie, please win the SEC East. That way when we beat you after knocking off VPI we can say we’re champions of two conference divisions (just like you “won the ACC” by beating us in 2009).

All Saints

November 7th, 2011
10:48 am

Just a reminder that we’ll be having our regular tribute and moment of silence on Saturday for Saint Jan Kemp, the courageous martyr who exposed UGA and Vince Dooley’s “remedial studies” fraud. Mark Richt keeps the scam going even today, almost thirty years later.

Please approach this special moment with reverence as we honor her sacred name.

Vince Doodly

November 7th, 2011
10:49 am

If this game comes down to special teams, Auburn wins. I wouldnt have said this at the beginning of the season, but AU has the better kickers.

te29wr

November 7th, 2011
10:50 am

No words from ROLL ( ed over) TIDE fans are they still there

ATLER (Ramblin Wreck)

November 7th, 2011
10:50 am

THWG!!!! I hope they go down crashing and burning!!!! ugag fans love to talk when they have not beaten a ranked opponent all year, but think they are an elite program. Go drink some toilet water ugag mutts. Go Jackets!!!!

Fair and Balanced

November 7th, 2011
10:51 am

12 1/2 favorite over Auburn is crazy! Hope it happens though!

lucky21

November 7th, 2011
10:52 am

Virginia also has an away game at Florida State they will lose to either Florida state or
VT.