ATHENS — Good morning. Before we get to the game, I have a small request: Let’s be civil.
I understand emotions (and beer) often cause sports fans to jump the rails a little bit. Because we will have both Georgia and Georgia Tech fans on this blog, the chance for a verbal inferno becomes even greater.
But the same rules apply: no profanity, no profanity that is cleverly disguised with punctuation marks, no racist comments, no sexual innuendo, no stealing of screen names to give the impression that somebody wrote something when they really didn’t, no … well, you get the idea. You can praise, mock, laud and criticize all you like. But let me share something an old editor of mine once told me: If you have to ask, “Can I write this?” the answer is probably no.
OK, onto the game. Georgia and Georgia Tech is, first and foremost, always about 364 days of bragging rights. But it’s so much more than that today.
– Georgia needs a win to keep hopes alive for a berth in the BCS title. That’s also contingent on the Bulldogs upsetting Alabama in the SEC championship game next week. The Dogs would still play for the conference title even if they were to be upset by the Jackets. But obviously a lot of steam would come out of the game, and certainly it would deflate the fan base.
– Georgia Tech needs a win for a credibility boost and, in that sense. It also would give Jackets fans some hope for the ACC championship game against Florida State and/or a better bowl game. Tech has won three straight. But it has been a largely rocky season and they slipped into the Coastal Division title and a conference championship berth through the backdoor, benefiting from Miami’s decision to bow out in hopes of minimizing expected NCAA sanctions.
Georgia fans have reason to be concerned: Even though the Dogs have shown themselves to be the better and more talented team, there’s a possibility of players being distracted by all of the SEC and BCS talk.
Georgia Tech fans have reason to be concerned: Even with the late-season bounce back and the added skills that quarterback Vad Lee brings to the lineup, the Jackets’ defense hasn’t stopped anybody. Georgia has a balanced offense led by quarterback Aaron Murray (12 touchdowns, zero interceptions since the fourth quarter against Florida) and freshman running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall.
Bottom line: This is a rivalry game, and strange things often occur in rivalry games. At the risk of sounding cliche, I suspect Tech’s best chance to win today will be based on turnovers and winning the special teams battle. Georgia probably also doesn’t want to get into a scoring battle (as was the case in 2008, when the Jackets won 45-42). Red zone production is key for both teams.
That’s it for now. Have fun all. I’m here to serve.
And with that, the cyber venting lines are open.
By Jeff Schultz
Post-Thanksgiving blog blowout sale