ATHENS — For the first Saturday of the season, Georgia will take the field today as SEC East Division champions. And by the time this game ends, the Bulldogs hope nothing will have happened to dampen that title.
A week after clinching the East title at Auburn, the Dogs play host to Georgia Southern. Nothing against the Eagles, who have an impressive winning tradition at the Division 1-AA/FCS level, but this one shouldn’t be close.
Georgia has three simple goals: 1) Tune up defensively for next week’s game against Georgia Tech, which, like Southern, runs an option offense; 2) Build a big enough lead to get into position to pull starters in the second half; 3) Get out of this game without any significant injuries.
A berth in the SEC championship against Alabama is secure, but Georgia could have more on the line after that. The Dogs’ No. 5 ranking in the BCS creates an outside possibility they could still sneak into the national championship game. In short, the Dogs would need to win out over Southern, Tech and Alabama, and then hope that two of the other three teams ahead of them in the BCS — Kansas State, Oregon and Notre Dame — lose a game. Click the link for how it breaks down.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see Georgia come out a little flat today against Southern. A letdown after a four-game winning streak and last week’s 38-0 blowout of Auburn seems only natural. Conversely, Georgia Southern (8-2) will be pumped. It’s a big deal for an FCS team any time it can face an FBS opponent, and I’m sure a lot of GSU’s players dreamed of playing in Athens. So I could foresee a final score of something like 48-21.
Here’s some more reading material if you’re looking to pass the time:
• Chip Towers on Georgia trying to stay focused while keeping an eye on the BCS.
• Chip on Todd Gurley on trying to become only the second true freshman running back in UGA history to go over 1,000 yards. (You know the other guy.) With four more games, there’s still a slim chance Gurley (973) can catch Walker’s freshman season rushing record of 1,616 yards, but he would need to average 160.7 per game.
• Here’s my three-second view of the game and other investment advice in Weekend Predictions.
Finally, in case you missed it, WSB Channel 2 picked up the broadcast for this game. So pull up a couch and follow along while you’re commenting here.
And with that, I’m going to open the cyber-venting lines now. What are you looking for in today’s game?
By Jeff Schultz