Bulldogs Beat

Pregame blog: Georgia vs. Auburn

Notes, observations and other tidbits from Sanford Stadium as Todd Gurley and Georgia prepare to face Auburn on a chilly Saturday night.

6:35 p.m.: The return of Gurley

UGA certainly isn't playing down the return of its star tailback from an NCAA suspension.

Todd Gurley has been featured on the videoboard a number of times. The first time he was cheered loudly by those inside the stadium at that point (probably about a quarter full). Sony Michel was also featured a few times, though to understandably slightly less applause.

Nick Marshall hasn't been featured on the scoreboard yet, but when he and the other Auburn quarterbacks walked in they were booed lustily.

Gurley and Michel were both working with the kickoff returners in warmups. Isaiah McKenzie may still be the main guy there, but they typically work about a half-dozen guys at kick and punt return in warmups.

6:00 p.m.: Blackout in stands

The fan-organized blackout appears to be on. The fans who have streamed into the stadium so far are predominantly in black, with just a smattering of red.

For those still hoping the team will join the blackout, they're wearing red in warmups. I've seen other teams pull a switcheroo before, but that would be very un-Mark Richt-like.

5:50 p.m.: Michel in uniform

Freshman tailback Sony Michel is indeed in uniform, the best sign yet that he will be available to play if needed.

Nick Chubb and Todd Gurley are obviously the top two tailbacks today, but if Michel, who hurt his ankle last week at Kentucky, can play a little bit it will help immensely. He's considered the faster of the tailbacks.

I did not spot Keith Marshall during the Dawg Walk.

5:00 p.m.: Travel roster updates

For what it's worth, and that's not much, Sony Michel and Keith Marshall are on Georgia's dress out squad, to use the official term.

The reason that's not worth much is that being at home, Georgia has 80 players on the list, 10 more than for the away games they've played the last month. So Michel and Marshall were with the team at the hotel overnight. That's not a huge deal, as Malcolm Mitchell was with the team at the hotel for the Tennessee game, but did not play.

It will be a better gauge to watch to see if they're in uniform for the Dawg Walk, and even then a dressed out player might not play.

Marshall playing would be particularly surprising. The signs lately have pointed to a medical redshirt, though he's been practicing.

Michel was questionable as of Wednesday, having not practiced to that point because of an ankle injury. But head coach Mark Richt had regarded him as "hopeful."

There aren't any other major surprises on the dress out list: Brendan Langley is on it, after not playing last week. Everyone else expected to play or at least be questionable is on the list.

4:55 p.m.: Today's referee is ...

Matt Austin.

4:45 p.m.: Chilly weather update

It's going to be cold, but not as cold as it could be.

The reason for that is a lack of wind chill, or at least that's what the weather report is. The projected temperature at kickoff is around 38 degrees, dropping to 32 by 11 p.m.

It doesn't seem like the cold should help either of the two teams, as they have similar strengths (the run game) and are both used to the same kind of weather.

4:00 p.m.: Florida eliminated

It's officially now a two-team race in the SEC East, which could be decided tonight.

Florida's home loss to South Carolina has eliminated the Gators, who finish with a 4-4 conference record. That's potentially a big help to Georgia, as the Gators would have owned the head-to-head tiebreaker over Georgia, and the three-team tiebreaker if Missouri, Georgia and Florida had all finished at 5-3.

Missouri (4-1) enters the night in first place over Georgia (5-2). But if Missouri loses at Texas A&M and Georgia beats Auburn, the division goes to the Bulldogs, the winner of the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Florida's loss also means Georgia remains in the race even if it loses tonight and Missouri wins. The Bulldogs would finish with a 5-3 record, but Missouri still has two games remaining, at Tennessee and home against Arkansas.

And if Georgia wins tonight and Missouri wins as well, it means the Tigers would need to lose one of those two remaining games to make the Bulldogs the division champions.