It was amusing to hear Kentucky coach Joker Phillips telling about getting a text from the 803 area code (South Carolina) offering him dinner “anywhere in the world” if Kentucky upsets Georgia, but it also brought home how good it feels for the Dogs to control their own destiny, as the sports cliche goes, in the battle to play in the Georgia Dome.
Dawgs fans can relate to what South Carolina fans are feeling right now. Remember how frustrating it was for most of the season when we knew that no matter how well Georgia played, all the Gamecocks had to do to get back to Atlanta was win out in the conference?
Now, the roles are reversed and Carolina fans who were crying “War Eagle” last week are desperately cheering this week for Big Blue (a nickname more commonly applied to the Wildcats in basketball).
I know a lot of Georgia fans are concerned that with the point spread approaching 30 for this game the Dogs might come out complacent or lose focus looking ahead, and that’s certainly a legitimate fear in a situation like this. But a team that doesn’t let an 0-2 start and “hot seat” talk about its head coach derail its season isn’t easily distracted from the task at hand.
The Bulldogs know this isn’t just any old game against a lightly regarded opponent. This is a game to clinch the division title and go to the SEC Championship for the first time since 2005. I’ll be surprised if Georgia doesn’t come out breathing fire Saturday and ready to show the world they’re Dome-worthy. This is why these players came to UGA, to play for a championship.
After spending most of the early part of the season hearing constantly that each game was a “must” win for the Dogs, nothing’s really changed. Kentucky is a must win, but in a positive sense.
This time last year, every game for the Dogs was “big” in the ironic sense that they were desperate to just qualify for a bowl bid. This year, Kentucky is a big game because it’s for the SEC East.
Turnarounds like that are what make college football such a blast.
Feel free to share your own views on life in the driver’s seat.
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