Welcome to championship week. Raise your hand if you expected Georgia to be in this position back on Sept. 11th. That was the day after the supposedly devastating 45-42 loss to South Carolina. To his credit, Bulldogs’ coach Mark Richt did, as his comments after that game indicate.
Since then the Bulldogs won 10 straight, culminating with Saturday’s 31-17 win over Georgia Tech to conclude the regular season. Now it gets real interesting!
Georgia’s season began with a rather lackluster loss to No. 5 Boise State in the Georgia Dome. Now the Bulldogs head back and will face an even bigger challenge in No. 1-ranked LSU in the SEC Championship Game. No one’s giving them a chance to win. The early lines I’ve seen have the Tigers favored by 11.5 to 13 points. So Las Vegas is expecting a rout.
What I think is most interesting about Saturday’s game is the apparent lack of bearing it will have on LSU’s BCS national championship hopes. Virtually every prediction out there has the Tigers still playing in the title game even if they lost to Georgia and even if that loss was a blowout.
There is even some speculation that LSU could clinch a share of the national title with a win over Georgia on Saturday via The AP vote.
That has brought forth some previously unfathomable reasoning. LSU coach Les Miles was asked this past weekend if he had considered resting some of his players and kind of taking it easy for the SEC championship game. Miles’ response was predictable.
“Just so you know, there is no way this football team goes to Atlanta and doesn’t play its best,” he said.
The truth is, the bigger the stage, the better LSU has played this season. The Tigers’ season began with a game against a top 5 Oregon team in the “Jerry Dome” in Dallas and they’ve had “monumental” contests all year, with trips to West Virginia, Alabama and Arkansas. They seem to do their best where the lights are brightest.
“We’re used to being on the big stage,” Miles said Sunday. “I think our guys translate the glare of the lights to making plays in the game. I think they did that against Oregon in Dalaas and they’ve really done it right on through Alabama at Alabama. So we’re kind of comfortable in domes and we’ll look forward to seeing if we can the exact same thing.”
Expect the Bulldogs to get LSU’s best shot.
So does anybody here have a problem with the SEC championship game being rendered moot with regard to the BCS title? And does anybody believe Georgia has a chance in this game?
Meanwhile, we here at the AJC are treating it as a meaningful game. We have a lot of great coverage plans so be sure to check back regularly for updates as we’ll post everything online as quickly as we have it. And feel free to offer suggestions for stories or particular subjects you’d like to see covered.