ATHENS -- Georgia’s matchup against No. 13 Alabama on Saturday is full of implications.
For both teams, the fans’ conversations are turning to SEC aspirations and national championship hopes, with both teams being the other’s highest-ranked opponent for the remainder of the season.
But no one is having those conversations with sophomore defensive back Aaron Davis.
“No one’s came up to me yet (on campus),” Davis said. “I guess I haven’t had to cross that bridge yet.”
For Davis, that’s a testament to his and the rest of the team’s ability to tune out the noise that is associated with a big matchup like this.
Davis acknowledged that getting caught up in the hype can be dangerous to the team’s performance.
“I don’t think it’ll ever be smart to get caught up in who your opponent is that week because that might even mess you up two weeks before if you’re forward-looking to opponents,” Davis said. “It’s important to take the same approach so we can continue to execute and have our focus in the right place.
“We could win this week and then get too happy and lose the rest of the games in the season, or we could try to hype them up too much and change our mindsets. That might lower our confidence and we lose this week. ... I know I don’t feed into the hype or anything that’s is portrayed to the game. I just try to go out there and do my job.”
There’s a fine line between ignoring the hype and not playing up to the opponent and coming out flat. So while it’s important to ignore the hype to an extent, it does come into play come kickoff in terms of the atmosphere it creates in the stadium and creating a strong home-field advantage.
“We feed off the fans’ energy a lot,” sophomore guard Isaiah Wynn said. “Like South Carolina, the fans had us hyped. We were prepared, and we were ready and you know the outcome of the game.”
Alabama will need to give Georgia its best shot to take the road to victory and stay alive in the College Football Playoff race, and Georgia’s players know that is the case.
“I expect the best team they could possibly put out there,” Davis said. “They did lose earlier this year. They’re probably looking to finish the rest of their season off strong so they can make a good case for the College Football (Playoff committee), so I expect the best team that they could possibly put out there.”
Despite that fact, the players, at least Wynn, seem pretty confident.
Wynn said he expects the team to pass this week’s test with “flying colors” and acknowledged that this could be a statement game for Georgia.
I think it would make a big statement, that we’re here this year, that we’re coming full force this year,” Wynn said.