Saturday’s games for Georgia and Georgia Tech are really important but for very different reasons.
Georgia is flying high after its dominant performance against South Carolina. Things couldn’t have gone much better in that game as the Bulldogs exorcised some of their Steve Spurrier demons with a nearly flawless performance in a rout of the Gamecocks.
Quarterback Greyson Lambert was, well, nearly perfect. The powerful running game was, well, the powerful running game, And the defense was pretty good, too.
South Carolina looks as bad this year as it has in many, many years, but that doesn’t take away from the Bulldogs’ performance. They were ready to play from the opening kickoff, and that continued until the final play.
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The Bulldogs need to maintain that focus Saturday as they take on Southern in a game they should win much the way they won last week’s. Yep, South Carolina looked that bad, like a team Georgia paid to head to Sanford Stadium to take its beating.
That’s what Georgia fans should expect Saturday, and that’s the way the Bulldogs need to handle their business with next week’s SEC showdown against Alabama looming large. But Georgia’s players don’t need to worry about that game just yet.
Yes, they can pretty much roll the ball out there and beat Southern, but that’s not the right way to handle things. Georgia needs a quality, clean performance to keep its momentum rolling from last week right into next week. Do that and win next week, and Georgia is right in the hunt for a spot in the College Football Playoff.
Georgia Tech, on the other hand, has no reason to look ahead -- or look back, for that matter.
The Yellow Jackets struggled in their first loss of the season to Notre Dame, but that one game really can’t derail their season. Now, let it continue to affect them and then lose another game Saturday to Duke? Well, that would knock this season all the way off the rails.
Georgia Tech certainly can still win the ACC even if loses Saturday to the Blue Devils, but any chances of getting into the playoff would go right out the window with a second loss. And a second straight loss, including one in the ACC opener, would really hurt this team’s confidence and send it reeling into the second half of the season. It could certainly rebound from a loss Saturday and have a strong season (see: last year), but that would be difficult to do with some tough games left on the schedule (see: Clemson, Florida State and Georgia).
The Yellow Jackets need to rediscover the confidence they displayed in their first two games. Yes, those games came against overmatched opponents, but Georgia Tech was efficient and smooth in those two wins. Against the Irish, they were neither of those as Notre Dame dominated the action throughout.
There are eight games remaining on the Georgia Tech schedule after the trip to Durham, North Carolina, but that trip could send the Yellow Jackets’ season down one path or another. And that makes it the most important game on the team’s schedule the rest of the way.
Contact Daniel Shirley at 744-4227 or firstname.lastname@example.org