Georgia Bulldogs face Georgia Southern with one eye on SEC, BCS races

Missed opportunities, such as this drop by Malcolm Mitchell inside the 5-yard line against LSU in last year's SEC Championship game, is what has the Bulldogs so excited about their BCS possibilities this season. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Missed opportunities, such as this drop by Malcolm Mitchell inside the 5-yard line against LSU in last year's SEC Championship game, is what has the Bulldogs so excited about their BCS possibilities this season. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

ATHENS – When it comes to the BCS championship race, Georgia coach Mark Richt refuses to talk about it. He won’t even acknowledge that the it’s nice just to be in the discussion. This past week he dodged questions about it like spitballs flying across a classroom.

“I don’t worry about it,” said Richt, who will lead the No. 5-ranked Bulldogs into Saturday’s game against Georgia Southern. “I don’t, because I can’t control it. If you worry about stuff you can’t control, you’re really wasting your time and you’re going to make yourself crazy a little bit. I can only control what we do on a weekly basis.”

But that hasn’t been the case with Georgia’s players. While they’re clearly focused on Saturday’s game against Georgia Southern — the coaches have made certain of that with four full-contact practices this week rather than the customary one they would have during a normal week of game preparation — that hasn’t kept them from scoreboard watching. In fact, they say they’ve been playing with one eye on SportsCenter the last two weeks and they definitely will the next two.

“Oh, yeah. We know we have to continue to take care of business this week and next week and three weeks from now,” Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray said. “But I’m definitely going to be watching the Kansas State and Oregon and Notre Dame matchups for the next three weeks. Hopefully we’ll see two of them lose.”

That is what has to happen for Georgia to have any shot of reaching the BCS title game. The Bulldogs are set to play No. 4 Alabama in the SEC Championship game on Dec. 1 if the heavily-favored Crimson Tide (9-1, 6-1 SEC) can get by Auburn on Nov. 24 in Tuscaloosa. Meanwhile, the three teams Murray mentioned are all undefeated and ranked ahead in the BCS.

The SEC needs at least two of those teams to lose to have a representative in the title game for a seventh consecutive year. Obviously the Bulldogs are rooting hard it would be them.

“After the Ole Miss game, we were all just sitting there in the locker room; no one left because we were all watching Notre Dame (playing Pitt),” senior linebacker Christian Robinson said. “Everybody in the nation knows we’re cheering for other teams because, at this point, it’s the only way we would have a chance of getting in.”

Tight end Arthur Lynch, a native of Dartmouth, Mass., was telling everybody that Boston College to pull off the upset over Notre Dame last Saturday. Senior cornerback Sanders Commings can recite in a snap the remaining games for Kansas State, Oregon and the Fighting Irish.

For the record, No. 1 Kansas State is at Baylor on Saturday and home against Texas on Dec. 1; No. 2 Oregon has games against Stanford on Saturday, at Oregon State on Nov. 24 and Dec. 1 in the Pac-12 championship game; and No. 3 Notre Dame plays host to Wake Forest on Saturday and travels to Southern Cal on Nov. 24.

Said Murray: “It’s cool. It definitely excites our guys. There’s nothing wrong with thinking big and dreaming big. We just have to makes sure we stay focused on these next two weeks and finish off the season strong.”

The task at hand begins Saturday against Georgia Southern. The Bulldogs play their FCS neighbors to the South every four years as a sort of favor to the late Erk Russell, who resurrected the program in the 1980s and built it into the FCS powerhouse it is today.

And that’s what concerns Richt. The Eagles are a program that is accustomed to winning and is not intimidated about playing storied major programs in large stadiums. Coach Jeff Monken took his team into Tuscaloosa last year and rolled up 302 yards rushing and scored more points on eventual BCS national champion Alabama than anybody did all year en route to a 45-21 loss.

That is the real rub for Georgia when it comes to its BCS pursuits. Georgia Southern – and its schematic cousin Georgia Tech, which plays Georgia next week – is built to make defenses look bad. The spread-option offense both teams utilize is virtually unstoppable. That’s not to say unbeatable, but they’re going to move the football and score. In the beauty contest that is the BCS and the college poll system, the Bulldogs aren’t likely to accrue many style points the next couple of weeks.

But that’s not Richt’s concern. He’s more worried about potential for an earth-shaking upset such as the one Appalachian State executed against Michigan in Ann Arbor in 2007.

“I look at Georgia Southern as a winning program,” Richt said. “I really don’t look at what league they’re in. I know that a team that’s used to winning is much more difficult to beat than a team that’s not used to winning. . . . Michigan might have been better off playing a Division I team that year. When you play teams that are used to winning, they’re the toughest ones to beat.”

107 comments Add your comment

piermontdawgny

November 16th, 2012
1:03 pm

first! dawgs win BIG!!!!!

AlaskaDawg

November 16th, 2012
1:05 pm

Lets take care of those Georgia Southern boys tomorrow, Go Dawgs!

Truth Be Told

November 16th, 2012
1:17 pm

UGA 42 GSU 14 TG3 157 YRDS 2 TDS

To Tell the Truth

November 16th, 2012
1:17 pm

They can keep that eye, but they AIN’T going no where but the Outback Bowl!!!!!

Jim

November 16th, 2012
1:18 pm

Style points could be won, big, by shutting out GA Southern and GA Tech and the real icing on the cake would come with running all over Alabama.

slawdawg

November 16th, 2012
1:20 pm

Go get’em Dawgs !!

Fair n Balanced

November 16th, 2012
1:21 pm

So we are talking about what we are not talking about. Got it.

bill arp

November 16th, 2012
1:21 pm

Wonder why more teams don’t run this type of offense..

Wonder why Marshall don’t return KO’s..

Wonder why D Lee is a starter..

Dawgs-45 Eagles-24

Tom

November 16th, 2012
1:32 pm

playing Ga Southern as a tribute. BS. They want to pad their already easy schedule with as many patsies as possible.

ugab

November 16th, 2012
1:38 pm

The dawgs have to keep focused. GoDawgs

dawgman

November 16th, 2012
1:38 pm

Tom= Jealous Techie Troll

MT

November 16th, 2012
1:41 pm

Go Eagles; Let’s upset them Dogs!

7576DAWG

November 16th, 2012
1:41 pm

I certainly like the idea of giving an in state college a financial windfall but not at the expense of my team. If I was McGarity this would be the last time I played Georgia Southern until they change their offensive scheme. Georgia Tech is bad enough , we can’t do anything about that until Johnson leaves but there are a lot of Georgia Southern’s out there that doesn’t increase the risk of one of our players getting hurt and playing against team who relies on cut blocking on every play to help their spread offense work is most definitely increasing the risk of someone getting hurt.

MT

November 16th, 2012
1:43 pm

@7576DAWG It’s football, get over it. You risk the chance of getting when you choose to play the game.

dawgman

November 16th, 2012
1:47 pm

Rodster

November 16th, 2012
1:58 pm

Talk of being in the BCS championship is stupid. There is no way a 1-loss team should be in above an undefeated Oregon and Kansas State or Notre Dame. By the way, UGA better just take care of business with Ga Southern and Georgia tech first. Both of them can score points. Oh, also the whining about playing against the spread offense. Shut up already. That is a ridiculous argument.

Storm Eagle

November 16th, 2012
2:08 pm

Finally, UGA can test itself against a team that’s won some titles. Don’t be surprised when we upset you at your place, we have a winning tradition.

Joey

November 16th, 2012
2:11 pm

What are you gonna say next season, Tom, you doofus? Tech has a schedule every single year like our the past 2 seasons.

Next season UGA picks up LSU and Clemson.

Who knows maybe Tech will be worth a crap (for a change) and help improve our SOS.

And please, fellow Dawgs, shut up on the cut blocking crap. Geez . . .

Statesboro dawg

November 16th, 2012
2:16 pm

This is the one time watching football when I want one team to do good and the other team to do good. Georgia Southern Graduate but a BULLDOG SINCE BIRTH> GO BOTH TEAMSSSS

Hutch

November 16th, 2012
2:17 pm

I like that they’re treating Georgia Southern like the threat they are. We (Southern) Could beat Auburn, we could beat Tech. Georgia Southern isn’t the easiest on the Dawgs schedule, and Mark Richt and co. refuses to treat them like that. Georgia Southern is one of the most storied programs of winning in the FCS, and they can play with anyone, you watch. UGA 35, Southern 28

Cut blocking LOL

November 16th, 2012
2:18 pm

All of this cut blocking talk is laughable. There is no evidence to show that this offense injures players more than others. I have watched plenty of triple option games and I never see an injury as a result of a cut block. If anything, the players are more alert and aware and are injured less.

The truth of the matter is that Jon Jenkins has been coasting all year long to get to the NFL draft and could really care less about UGA and if they win or not. One thing for sure is that he will never give 100% so he is more of a liability for UGA at this point.

Buckeye

November 16th, 2012
2:21 pm

blah blah blah

blah blah blah bla

Go GA Southern, W Carolina and Jacksonville State

Shock the narcistic SEC! SEC!

Only Obama is more cocksure.

CHDawg

November 16th, 2012
2:27 pm

Any TV coverage on this thing?

AltamahaDawg

November 16th, 2012
2:30 pm

Technically Storm Eagle…well more than technically, it factual in every way , the tradition is that GSU has lost every single game to a D-1 at thier place, so not sure I’d be quoting that.

But yes, the team and staff are treating the Eagles with very well deserved respect.

AltamahaDawg

November 16th, 2012
2:32 pm

Cut blocking.

Joey

November 16th, 2012
2:37 pm

Buckeye, you should be ashamed commenting on SEC schedules – yes, I’ve looked at yours and I’ve seen the records of your opponents. Pathetic – especially in light of how few decent Big 10 teams there are this season.

But keep it up – I’ve needed some laughs since last Tuesday . . .

Buckeye

November 16th, 2012
2:40 pm

Ohio State is on probation for cheating. The Blackeyes will not be playing in a bowl game this year and it’s a fact that your honest opinion is not honest. Go back to your bedroom in you Mama’s Ohio basement. You are not welcome here.

DIT

November 16th, 2012
2:43 pm

Y’all, don’t pay Buckeye any attention. I think he’s funny as heck. I still remember before OSU got into the mess they are in he was running his mouth so proudly (of course except for the times when the SEC teams beat OSU) Then the scandal………… Silence from Buckeye.
He’s just getting a little braver now. Cut him some slack. We need posters like him on here for the comic relief. God bless ya Buckeye!

Buckeye

November 16th, 2012
2:45 pm

Buckeye, please remember one fact today, you may be a Buckeye (Which is a Nut) but your Mama’s a Dog!

G-Dawg

November 16th, 2012
3:05 pm

Buckeyes…if you cant beat em…just hire their head coach!!

FaithfulDawg 87

November 16th, 2012
3:06 pm

Rodster, did you actually read the article? Do you understand the basic principles of math? We are not talking about a 1-loss UGA being above an undefeated Oregon, K State, or ND. We are talking about a late loss from two of those teams propelling us above them… Go be a troll at a blog for whatever high school you root for and leave the big boy games to us.

Buckeye

November 16th, 2012
3:09 pm

dit,

Others will attest, and I will not regurgitate herein, however, I opined with candor and humility my views on the entire Tressel scandal. A black eye for sure but happy time always marches on. Look where we are now. 9-0 and nipping at the dogs heels in the AP.

My “Mama” is not a dog, She passed in 1975.

A nut? Impart a useless piece of knowledge I don’t know.

BULLDWAG = DUI ARREST......AGAIN

November 16th, 2012
3:09 pm

Any word on the recent DUI arrest of the UGA LB? It’s concerning to hear about this kind of stuff from the Bulldwags on a near monthly basis.

Buckeye

November 16th, 2012
3:11 pm

I bought my last pack of Twinkies today UNLESS or UNTIL (pick oneO) Obama bails out the Hostess union.

Sad Day. Another piece of America gone.

Mike Franklin

November 16th, 2012
3:20 pm

Ga. Southern is never easy. The Eagles play to win, believing they can win each and every contest. Here they will be in front of a semi-friendly atmosphere (still in Georgia) and playing the BCS #5 team.
Having played and coached football over the years, I can feel the excitement that both teams have to be feeling. The difference is that The Dawgs may be looking over the hill to Tech and Atlanta… while Ga. Southern sees this as their BIG game for 2012.

Man, we gotta be ready for these boys or they could steal our thunder.

NCDawg

November 16th, 2012
3:25 pm

Bill arp – the reason more teams do not run it is two fold. First, it is turn over prone. The Dawgs stopped running the veer back in the 70’s when when began losing ball games because of turnovers. The second is because it is hard to recruit to because no one in the NFL runs anything remotely like it and they under evaluate players in those systems for the draft. It is hard to get good linemen because they do not get a chance to show off pass blocking skills very often and even then the protection schemes are very simple. It is very difficult to get a QB to run the system as well. With the spread offenses that abound through out college ball these days, running QB’s will chose to go to those schools rather than run the triple option.
In the end…it is a gimicky offense that relies on the fact that hardly anyone runs it. Back in the day, the triple option went by the wayside because defenses figured out how to stop it. If Tech played the same team 2 weeks in a row…the going would be much harder the 2nd week… assuming that the same players were available to defend it. That chop blocking is hell.

I remember

November 16th, 2012
3:26 pm

Off topic somewhat, but I think Richard Samuel should get the start for a series either against GSU or preferably GT to honor his contributions to UGA.

GT = Wide Receiver U

November 16th, 2012
3:28 pm

NCDawg – not that you understand the difference between the two, but GT uses the Cut Block….not the Chop Block. The Chop Block is used by Ben Jones to injure opposing players. Please see Youtube for confirmation.

7576DAWG

November 16th, 2012
3:28 pm

MT and dawgman
Your reply makes no sense at all. Georgia is already playing in the toughest Conference in the Nation , by far. I didn’t suggest that we make the SEC a wimp Conference like the ACC or the Big 10 . I said playing against teams that specialize in an offensive scheme that teaches cut blocking on every play in order to make it work is too high of a risk for Georgia taking the chance on playing a team like Georgia Southern. I was not advocating Georgia quitting the SEC and joining a flag football league. If we lose Gurley and Murray or Gurley and Marshall because a Freshman on the Georgia Southern team doesn’t know how to cut block properly then our chances of winning the SEC Championship go’s to zero. We can’t avoid any of the SEC opponents and a lot of them do cut block but not on every play. We chose who we play our non conference games with and I was not wanting to stop playing Georgia Tech . I only said that I would not play Georgia Southern because of the higher risk of losing one of our players to injury. Instead of playing Georgia Southern late in the year I prefer to play Notre Dame or someone like Southern Cal who we will never get to play because of their tie ends, but we should never play a team that good before the 5TH or 6TH game.

Joey

November 16th, 2012
3:29 pm

Lot’s of America will be gone by 2016, Buckeye.

Columbus Dawg

November 16th, 2012
3:29 pm

Austin Long has emerged as good depth for the line, working on protection for Murray the next two games is key. Line must continue to make progress opening running lanes, as the running game will be important in the dome. Look folks, like another poster said, whether the stars align for the BCS Championship or not, the Bama game is the most important game for UGA in a long, long time. A win here will cure the ills of the program. A title will come for Richt before he’s done.

Columbus Dawg

November 16th, 2012
3:30 pm

Yeah, Buckeye you moron, how does it feel to be from the state with more idiots than any other in America?

Joey

November 16th, 2012
3:38 pm

NCDawg, Vince Dooley promised Buck Belue and Lindsey Scott he would quit the Veer and switch to the I-formation if they signed with UGA in ‘78, in order to have a more pass-friendley offense.

It worked nicely, especially when 2 years later, a certain man/boy from Wrightsville became a perfect TB for that Power I offense.

Neutral

November 16th, 2012
3:39 pm

I agree Mike. Also, I haven’t heard about any players being arrested for DUI this season. What is the blogger @3:09 talking about?

ARdawg

November 16th, 2012
3:50 pm

Ga So is in effect our smaller but feisty little brother. If I wasn’t cheering on the Dawgs I’d be cheering them on. That means nothing when toe meets leather. Squash them Eagles and GO DAWGS!!!

FBDawg

November 16th, 2012
3:52 pm

In the BCS, Kansas St. is #1 and Oregon is #2. It’s the other way in the AP Poll, of course, but the computers love the Big 12.

Rick James

November 16th, 2012
4:07 pm

@GT = Wide Receiver U

NCDawg – not that you understand the difference between the two, but GT uses the Cut Block….not the Chop Block. The Chop Block is used by Ben Jones to injure opposing players. Please see Youtube for confirmation.
———————————————————————————————————————————
It was a Tech Cut Block as you call it that broke DeAngelo Tyson’s leg year..What “Tech” player did Ben Jones injure with a chop block? Surely if he habitually used this method he would have done so against Tech.How many times was he penalized for it over four years at Georgia?

Blue Ridge Dawg

November 16th, 2012
4:25 pm

@ CH dawg— coverage is going to be on WSB Atlanta. I am assuming Anthony Amos and Kevin Klein will be calling the game.

Blue Ridge Dawg

November 16th, 2012
4:27 pm

Zach Klein..

909

November 16th, 2012
4:40 pm

Just amazed at all the pissing & moaning by UGA players over playing GaSouthern
and their blocking schemes.

I dont remember ANY Bama players or ANY OTHER opponents doing ANY pissing & moaning when they played GaSouthern.