It’s just another big game for Georgia

dshirley@macon.comSeptember 27, 2013 

Georgia Gauntlet Football

Georgia head coach Mark Richt, left, speaks with LSU head coach Les Miles after LSU won the 2011 SEC championship game in Atlanta.

DAVE MARTIN — AP

Georgia’s season opener against Clemson was huge, remember?

And the Georgia-South Carolina game was even bigger than that, right? It was, after all, an SEC game.

Both were true, but Saturday’s game against LSU is even more important for Georgia’s season. The Bulldogs split those first two games, losing the non-conference game and winning the SEC game, so that keeps alive their hopes of an SEC East Division title. Beating the Gamecocks also continues their hopes of a conference title and possibly a national title.

Realistically, if Georgia wants to stay in that national championship hunt, it has to win Saturday’s game. The Bulldogs would still be in good shape to win division and conference titles even with a loss Saturday.

But it would be difficult for them to stay in the national title race if they can’t beat the Tigers.

Georgia’s schedule was certainly front-loaded with three top-10 opponents in the first four games. So that makes the rest of the schedule very manageable, and if Georgia wins Saturday, it should be able to coast into the SEC championship game.

Yes, there are trips to Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Auburn still on the schedule along with the annual trip to Jacksonville, Fla., for the game with Florida. But Tennessee is a mess, and Vanderbilt doesn’t look as dangerous as it has been in recent years.

Former Wilcox County quarterback Nick Marshall and first-year head coach Gus Malzahn have injected some excitement at Auburn, but the Tigers aren’t on the Bulldogs’ level just yet.

And Florida? The Gators lost quarterback Jeff Driskel for the year, but their offense was challenged (at best) even with him under center.

So things look smooth after Saturday, especially with a Georgia win. The Bulldogs have played in some big games already this season and played well, despite the loss to Clemson.

There’s no reason to believe they won’t play well again Saturday, and they should walk out of Sanford Stadium on Saturday with an eye to Atlanta and another trip to the SEC championship game.

Contact Daniel Shirley at 744-4227 or dshirley@macon.com

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