With just a month remaining in the regular season, bowl projections are kicking into high gear. Most projections have 11 SEC teams in postseason play, and it’s interesting that there’s basically no consensus on where Mark Richt’s Georgia Bulldogs will wind up.
Checking a sampling of nine of the better-known sources offering projections, I found three see the Dogs returning to Jacksonville for the Gator Bowl, two have Georgia penciled in for the Chick-fil-A in Atlanta, two see them falling behind Ole Miss in the pecking order and landing at the Music City in Nashville and, surprisingly, two project Georgia to go bowling at the Outback in Tampa.
These projections don’t come with predictions of how the rest of the season will play out for the Dogs, but it’s pretty obvious by the placement of Auburn that many expect the resurgent Tigers to beat Georgia this year.
For example, Sports Illustrated’s Stewart Mandel has Auburn in the Sugar and Georgia facing Boston College in the Music City. Mark Schlabach of ESPN gives South Carolina the Sugar nod but has Auburn in the Capital One and Georgia against Minnesota in the Gator. The Sporting News also has Auburn in the Sugar and Georgia in the Chick-fil-A against Miami. CollegeFootballNews.com puts Missouri in the Sugar, with Auburn in the Capital One and Georgia playing Michigan in the Gator. Phil Steele puts Auburn in the Sugar and Georgia against Iowa in the Gator.
And while it’s less clear what SBNation expects, since they have Auburn in the Chick-fil-A (with Texas A&M in the Sugar, South Carolina in the Capital One and Missouri in the Outback), they do have Georgia facing Pitt in the Music City.
But some projections clearly show an expectation that Georgia will beat Auburn. BCS expert Jerry Palm of CBSSports.com puts South Carolina in the Sugar, Texas A&M in the Capital One and Georgia in the Outback against Michigan, with Auburn in the Music City Bowl. And USA Today has Georgia in the Chick-fil-A against Miami and Auburn in the Gator.
Then there’s Brad Edwards of ESPN, who seems to think Auburn will beat Georgia, since he has the Tigers slotted in the Sugar. However, he still has the Dawgs in a Florida New Year’s Day bowl: the Outback, against Michigan.
Assuming the football gods don’t pull the rug out from under Mizzou so that Georgia somehow makes it to the SEC Championship, I’d frankly be surprised to see the Dogs in the Outback unless they win out. However, if they do, a Georgia team with victories over three Top 10 opponents certainly would be attractive.
On the other hand, I don’t see the Dogs falling as far as the Music City unless they lose to both Auburn and Georgia Tech. I think the Gator is the most likely destination, with Atlanta’s Chick-fil-A a possibility.
In the meantime, the UGA athletic office started accepting online requests for bowl game tickets (and SEC Championship tickets, just in case) from Bulldog Club members Wednesday.
A paper ticket application also will be mailed to the Hartman Fund donors and requests are also being accepted by phone. The priority order request deadlines are Nov. 22 for the SEC Championship and Dec. 6 for bowl games. (The applications list all games in which it is possible Georgia will play; no credit card charges will be run until Georgia has qualified for the conference championship and/or it is determined which bowl they’re in. Priorities are based on Hartman Fund scores. Any orders received after the deadlines will be filled on a first come, first served basis.)
For more information and to request a paper application, contact the ticket office by calling 1-877-542-1231 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
So, how would you feel about a second trip to Jacksonville this season? Or another almost-home game in Atlanta? Would a trip to Tampa help make up for the disappointments of this injury-plagued season? Feel free to share your views.
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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg