Bulldogs can punch their ticket to Georgia Dome with win over rival Auburn

Gene Chizik will coach Auburn against Georgia on Saturday amid reports that the school has already decided to dismiss him at the end of the season. (AP photo)

Gene Chizik will coach Auburn against Georgia on Saturday amid reports that the school has already decided to dismiss him at the end of the season. (AP photo)

AUBURN, Ala. — The line of Georgia’s detractors could probably wrap around Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium this Saturday and Steve Spurrier would probably be at the front of it.

“They lost to us by four touchdowns,” the South Carolina coach would shout. “They didn’t have to play Alabama or LSU from the West; they got Florida the week after the Gamecocks had softened them up.” And so on.

But all the squawking won’t change this fact: No. 5 Georgia will be the Eastern Division representative in the SEC Championship game if it can get by a troubled Auburn team Saturday on The Plains. And for the Bulldogs, who would be playing in the Georgia Dome for the second year in a row, that accomplishment is not one to be diminished.

“I don’t think the average fan realizes how tough it is every game,” said Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, who was sacked five times just last week against Ole Miss. “I’m not belittling other conferences, but this isn’t the Big 12 or Big Ten or Pac-12 or whatever they are now. This is SEC. It’s tough to win the East or the West.”

First things first. The Bulldogs can’t do anything until they’ve renewed their spot in the Deep South’s oldest rivalry. Georgia and Auburn will play a football game for the 116th time since 1892 Saturday at 7 p.m. in a game that will be nationally televised on ESPN2. And that’s not some minor obstacle.

The Bulldogs (8-1, 6-1 SEC) are two-touchdown favorites, understandable considering Auburn (2-7, 0-6 SEC) is winless in conference play and coach Gene Chizik’s dismissal reportedly already is being planned. But the series wouldn’t be as tight as it is – Auburn leads 54-53-8 – if the underdog didn’t trip up the favorite every once in a while.

In fact, the Georgia-Auburn rivalry has decided the conference fate of the respective teams, whether for a division crown or an overall title, 20 times since the first year of SEC football in 1933. The Bulldogs are 11-8-1 in those games, and the trail of heartbreak is well worn and littered with unclaimed hardware.

In all, the Tigers have denied Georgia an SEC title of some sort nine times. It started that very first year in 1933, when Auburn won 14-6 in Columbus to knock the Bulldogs’ out of the first-ever SEC championship.

It has gone the other way as well. As recent as 2006, Georgia brought a 6-4 team to Auburn to face the fifth-ranked Tigers (9-1), who were still in the national championship picture. But a freshman quarterback named Matthew Stafford and a defensive back named Tra Battle led the Bulldogs to a 37-15 victory and Auburn’s SEC hopes were ruined.

That’s why Richt laughed out loud when asked this week whether there was any danger his 8-win Bulldogs could overlook the 2-win Tigers.

“Oh, no,” he scoffed. “Are you kidding me? There’s no chance. No chance.”

Adding yet another wrinkle to this year’s proceedings is the behind-the-scenes maneuverings at Auburn. According to news reports citing high-level sources, Auburn president Jay Gogue has already made the decision to fire Chizik at the end of the season.

If that’s the case, it would be one of the fastest falls from grace we’ve seen in college football. Less than two years ago, Chizik was hoisting the crystal football symbolizing the BCS national championship. But on his radio show Thursday night, Tiger Talk, Chizik sounded resigned to that fate.

“Our team really feels a responsibility to go out there and play extremely hard for our fan base, the rivalry and for Auburn,” Chizik said on the air. “With the circumstances of the season, and us understanding we have three opportunities left and we’ll never be together again, I think that’s another case in point for our guys to go out there and have a blast.”

Therein lay the question: How will Auburn play amidst all its internal adversity? Richt and the Bulldogs think they know the answer.

“We don’t expect anything different,” Richt said. “We’ve been recruiting against Auburn for years; we know they’ve got great players. We know that they have outstanding coaches and we have a lot of respect for them. We know that the rivalry certainly brings the best out of both teams. So we’re expecting quite a challenge and quite a battle.”

If Georgia wins, there are many who will say it beat yet another bad team and “backed into” the league championship yet again. But you can be sure the Bulldogs won’t see it that way.

“I just don’t think people know the blood, sweat and tears that goes into it all year long,” junior defensive tackle Garrison Smith said. “All the practice hours, the meeting hours, the workouts, and you’ve got to balance all that with school. There’s just so much that goes into it behind the scenes. It’s not just showtime on Saturday. It’s hard.”

269 comments Add your comment

Delane

November 9th, 2012
5:33 pm

Steve Spurrier has a point.

Delane

November 9th, 2012
5:34 pm

First! My 15 minutes of fame.

Bdwdawg

November 9th, 2012
5:34 pm

Dawgs big time in a tight, competitive game. Look to A. Murray to have the game of his life, lighting it up with receivers making great plays! Go Dawgs!!

Discount DoubleDawg

November 9th, 2012
5:43 pm

I would love nothing more than to see the running game go off the charts. A nice complete game with all 3 phases playing mistake free would be a great way to lock up the SEC. Please don’t wait until the 4th quarter to start playing. Sure, lets just win… but this the game where we need to show that we have our stuff together.

Nash Dawg

November 9th, 2012
5:43 pm

I’m sure before half time, Stevie “Wondered in Lala land” Spurrier will turn off the TV when UGA is up by 14. Spurrier will never win anything big at USC.

joe jenkins

November 9th, 2012
5:53 pm

I think i’m going to start drinking tonight….so i can be ready for the upset a coming tomorrow….something just feels funny about this game….just really worried about our o-line……p.s I HATE SPURRIER

Bopper

November 9th, 2012
5:54 pm

Murray & Smith are right.

The SEC East is the #1 toughest, best division in the nation, 3 teams ranked up there in Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina.

SEC West is 2nd best division with Alabama and LSU.

No one escapes the East this year undefeated, it’s brutal.

Yet Georgia has found a way to come out on top, and play for 4 quarters, instead of just 2 in the SEC Championship this year, and get on to Miami.

Auburn will be hungry in the first half, hopefully their will, will be broken by halftime.

Gregory

November 9th, 2012
5:55 pm

Big Bill Stanfill sat in Steve Spurrier’s lap & don’t let him forget it!

Aubie

November 9th, 2012
5:56 pm

Pups ain’t got it-AU by 10. Mark it down.

Bopper

November 9th, 2012
5:56 pm

Name me any other division in the nation that has 3 top 10 teams, than the SEC East?

If Georgia is the SEC East Champ in 2012, you came out on top of the best in the country.

Bama’s division, and schedule, is much easier than UGA’s.

Aubie

November 9th, 2012
5:58 pm

Friend close to the program reports gouge already met with Petrino at secret location

OTN DAWG

November 9th, 2012
6:00 pm

Ive heard on the radio up here in north Tn that Bobby Patrino has been in the conversation to replace Cheese it next year.

grated cheese

November 9th, 2012
6:12 pm

2-8 Auburn gets a new five year plan.

joe jenkins

November 9th, 2012
6:24 pm

We had a great o-line in 02….since then we have struggled…why has richt let it get this bad???…..anybody know a good alcoholic beverage to drink when are getting pounded in the first half??

Steve

November 9th, 2012
6:27 pm

Where is GTBob? This is his favorite time of the day! A new UGA blog!

merbertmoover

November 9th, 2012
6:27 pm

hahaha, if auburn gets petrino that would be hilarious!!! would their fanbase really debase themselves that far to get such a scumbag to lead their proud, historic program? and what parent in their right mind would allow their child to be recruited by such a hypocrite and liar?

no way petrino ends up at auburn. auburn admin. would have to be out of their minds

Steve

November 9th, 2012
6:28 pm

Joe Jenkins = MORON.

I-DOG

November 9th, 2012
6:28 pm

If Auburn fires Chizik, which it certainly looks like will be happening in the near future… that isn’t exactly a lot of patience shown for a coach that is in only his fourth year at the school and has already delivered a national titel and the following stats:

His record is 8-5, 14-0, 8-5, and 2-7. I’m sure there are some behind the scenes things that go into it rather than his overall record of 32-17 and of course this is a disastrous season, but the guy is two years removed from delivering a national title to Auburn and last year they were 8-5.

In 4 years his accomplishments look better than Richt’s 12 years at UGA in many respects. Richt leads in winning percentage and number of SEC championship games.

Chizik won a national title in his first four years, where Richt has not. Richt has two SEC titles to date where Chizik has one. Is it fair to say that it is impossible that Chizik could get another one if given 8 more years? Richt is 4-8 against his most diffficult conference rival Florida, where Chizik is currently 1-2 against Alabama and presumably would be 1-3 by seasons end. Richt gets extra points for being 2-1 against FL in his last three games. Richt also never went 2-7 and never went o’fer in conference.

Chizik gets fired and Richt continues with his extended contract. I’m not saying one is right and one is wrong. I guess the question is… if I could snap my fingers and make UGA’s next four seasons for UGA football be 8-5, 14-0, 8-5 and 2-7 or not snap my fingers and just see what happens, what would I do?

I’d snap my fingers and take the national title two mediocre years and one horrendous year.

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joe jenkins

November 9th, 2012
6:38 pm

steve -shutup……you know nothing about the history georgia football….we are very well known for making things more interesting than they should be….richt is good for 8-10 win seasons….but nothing more

Steve

November 9th, 2012
6:38 pm

I-Dog, the problem is Gene is that he has never done anything without a guy named Cam. Cam won their NC, not Gene. They deserve what they are getting after they cheated.

Steve

November 9th, 2012
6:40 pm

I know nothing about the history of Georgia football? And how do you know that? You obviously know NOTHING about college football thinking UGA is going to get “pounded” in the first half by one of the worst teams in college football. It will be 28-3 at halftime.

Discount DoubleDawg

November 9th, 2012
6:40 pm

I was helping GTbob understand some things yesterday and I think the cat has his tongue… funny how logic and facts can get a guy all worked up. I like gtbob… he keeps things interesting. I am sure he will say he was busy or doesn’t care anymore or he had to wash his hair…

I Dog- that is a great question… I hate to say I am not sure what I would do. I see your point for sure but it is painful to go through what Auburn is going through… and think about what they might be going through the next few years.

Mountain Dawg

November 9th, 2012
6:41 pm

I think Cheesedip and Fishfry should play in the feces bowl.

dan

November 9th, 2012
6:43 pm

You know what Spurrier: take advantage of your opportunities. Period. You knew from day one what the schedule would be, so put your big boy pants on and get it done. Yeah UGA didn’t play LSU, but who’s to say the Dawgs wouldn’t have beaten them. Your team whipped UGA, but then lost to LSU, and absolutely no showed vs. Florida. So you deserve it more than UGA because of that? Football is about seizing opportunities and your team didn’t do it, so deal with it.

Buckeye

November 9th, 2012
6:43 pm

Auburn shocks the dogs small world.

joe jenkins

November 9th, 2012
6:44 pm

28 -3 huh? lol….i guess you were hiding under a rock…when we played those road games

Silver Dawg

November 9th, 2012
6:44 pm

To Garrison, please be advised that a lot of fans know and understand the difficulties of being a student-athlete. As a fan I sure do appreciate it.

Buckeye

November 9th, 2012
6:44 pm

Shall Auburn not shock the wold, Bama will shock you dogs.

Steve

November 9th, 2012
6:50 pm

Buckeye, AKA no bowl game, Bama beating UGA would not be a shock at all. They are better than UGA. Moron.

joe jenkins

November 9th, 2012
6:51 pm

45-7 win for us last year…what a great day of celebration!!! anybody thinks we duplicate that score this year??? i dont….because when is the last time we blowed out the same opponent two years in a row….beat tenn 41-14 in 10…..dawgs 20- tenn 12…11……..dawgs 43….vandy-0…10……dawgs by a few in 11…..see my point???

Discount DoubleDawg

November 9th, 2012
6:51 pm

bama could shock us by not being prepared, laying down, giving up etc… sure, they could shock us.

Buckeye

November 9th, 2012
6:53 pm

D stands for Delusional

O stands for OVERRATED

G stands for GAC ( home of C. King)

S stands for the second letter is iSaiah ( the formerly Anointed one II)

Buckeye

November 9th, 2012
6:54 pm

Yoi stevo . Check the AP rankings.

Oh ya,

TIME OUT!
TIMEOUT!!
TIME OUT!!!

Ah, the memories.

joe jenkins

November 9th, 2012
6:55 pm

If auburn wins….can we trade coaches??? At least chesse dip has won the mnc….will we with richt??? i dont think so….he doesn’t know how to put together a cohesive o-line

Buckeye

November 9th, 2012
6:56 pm

I can hear it know – we beat the 2-7 (SEC! SEC!) Auburn Tigresses!

Discount DoubleDawg

November 9th, 2012
6:58 pm

buckeyes- if you want to pick a fight please say something with some substance.

Buckeye

November 9th, 2012
6:59 pm

Hey stevo,

Applebees just announced your table is ready.

joe jenkins

November 9th, 2012
6:59 pm

It will be a tragedy if we lose to the war buzzards….if we are losing at halftime…i wont be seeing the rest of the game….because my TV is going to be broken

Steve

November 9th, 2012
6:59 pm

N stands for NO BOWL GAME.

Buckeye

November 9th, 2012
7:00 pm

Substance would require a psychological analysis of your name…..starting with “discount”.

Buckeye

November 9th, 2012
7:01 pm

Hmmm……….I recall a certain Liberty Bowl vs. CONF USA.

SEC! SEC!

Discount DoubleDawg

November 9th, 2012
7:02 pm

is that really the best you can do? really? C’mon little guy you can do it…One more try.

Buldog Buck

November 9th, 2012
7:02 pm

All Spurrier and the Gamecocks did against Florida was make them overconfident; there wasn’t much “softening up” going on.

Buckeye

November 9th, 2012
7:03 pm

Face it dogs, there’s Bama and the rest. You are one of the rest.

No, your part of the SEC! SEC! Least.

Buckeye

November 9th, 2012
7:04 pm

Gotta go. The Buckeyes have the honor of playing in the Carrier Classic.

Buckeye

November 9th, 2012
7:05 pm

Peace Out dog girl scouts

ugab

November 9th, 2012
7:12 pm

Chizik came into auburn with a ton of senoirs on the team and paid for cam. Auburn has the players to win. Hell uga has had the players. There has been a lot of seasons wherr uga could of lost a bunch of games. Auburn will be tough. Chizik recruited OL last yr. Did uga? Ugas wr and ol has to step up. Wats left of them

ugab

November 9th, 2012
7:23 pm

Spurrier complains. Saban plays ball. Just win win win. Take notes CMR. H

joe jenkins

November 9th, 2012
7:27 pm

yeah….losing to aub would be worse than losing to central fla and colarado….just because they are just as bad as they are and with so much on the line