This is not to short-change the Georgia-Georgia Tech rivalry in any way. Whichever school wins the annual game owns 12 months of bragging rights — or to be more precise, mocking and taunting rights.
But no matter how big the Tech game is to Georgia, the potential LSU game next week is bigger. Ten years from now, whether the Bulldogs won an SEC championship in 2011 will carry far more weight than whether they defeated the Jackets, rivalry banter notwithstanding.
That’s why Georgia coach Mark Richt has to answer a difficult question this week: Should the Dogs rest running back Isaiah Crowell against Tech?
The Bulldogs have to believe they have a chance to win the SEC championship because, even if they’re a heavy underdog to LSU or Alabama, it’s not far-fetched to believe they can win one game in the Georgia Dome. But without a reasonably healthy Crowell — and with Carlton Thomas lost in a blur of suspensions — the running game takes a hit.
Richt says he expects Crowell to play despite ankle issues. Crowell has battled health issues much of the season but a sprained ankle is particularly problematic. Ankles are slow healing, and seeing Crowell pulled after two carries against Kentucky set off alarms.
Sitting Crowell against Tech is a risk. Richt would run the risk of hurting Georgia’s chances to beat Tech, especially if the Jackets can run and control the clock and keep quarterback Aaron Murray and his receivers on the sideline. But if the SEC championship is bigger, shouldn’t the plan this week be made with next week in mind?
What are your thoughts on this subject? Should Crowell be rested this week? Or should the thought process be: Go all out to beat Tech and worry about next week after this game?
By Jeff Schultz