ATHENS -- One day before Georgia played one arch-rival, its loss to another one earlier this season officially cost it a great season.
Missouri, and not Georgia, was crowned the SEC East champion Friday after its comeback win over Arkansas. And so ended any hopes for Georgia to get its first conference championship since 2005 and whatever fleeting hopes it had to get into the College Football Playoff.
Georgia (9-2 overall, 6-2 SEC) was banking on a Missouri loss in one of its final three games, which would have put the Bulldogs in Atlanta next week to face the SEC West winner.
Instead, Missouri ran the table after its 34-0 home loss to Georgia on Oct. 9.
It is no doubt a supreme frustration for the Bulldogs to miss out after clobbering the Tigers in the regular season, but as people around the program pointed out this week, they had only themselves to blame.
“It is our fault. We put ourselves in this situation, and now we’ve gotta deal with it,” Georgia receiver Chris Conley said Tuesday. “We have to live with it, and if it shakes out that way, then we’ve gotta move forward with it. But the only thing we can control at this point is what we do this weekend.”
Georgia needed only to beat Florida or South Carolina, a pair of SEC East also-rans, to render the whole thing moot.
The 38-20 loss to Florida looms the largest, with the Gators having a bad enough season that head coach Will Muschamp was dismissed a couple of weeks later.
There is still plenty on the line Saturday when Georgia Tech (9-2) visits on Saturday. The Bulldogs are going for a 10-win season and their 13th win in 14 seasons over their in-state rivals.
“It’s still a great year,” Georgia senior linebacker Amarlo Herrera said. “We want to go there (to Atlanta), but if it doesn’t happen, it’s our fault.”