Reggie Carter was getting ready to leave Sanford Stadium following Georgia’s 24-10 win over South Carolina when his mother relayed some important news.
Mississippi had just defeated Kentucky. That meant the Bulldogs clinched the SEC East division title.
Carter’s mother was obviously excited at this revelation. As for Carter, he didn’t think this particular achievement warranted much attention. After all, Georgia has a talented opponent in Auburn to prepare for next.
“My mom told me. I was like, ‘That’s good,’” Carter said. “I told her we got Auburn next. I’m happy but we got Auburn next and they’re a tough opponent. They’re a great team, the next team we have to play against.”
Carter said any SEC East title cheers lasted less than two seconds. He also noted his teammates haven’t talked much about the division title with one another.
Running back Sony Michel said no one celebrated the East championship. While Georgia will play for an SEC title on Dec. 2, he said the team’s focus remains on the Tigers.
“You got to prepare each week like it’s the last game,” Michel said. “We can’t really look forward. If you look forward you’re not focused on the task at hand.”
Georgia (9-0, 6-0 SEC) is off to its best start since the 1982 season. In that year, the Bulldogs finished the regular season undefeated before losing the Sugar Bowl, and de facto national championship game, to Penn State.
Unbeaten and ranked No. 1 in the College Football Playoff poll, Georgia will get each remaining opponent’s best shot. The Bulldogs appear cognizant of that fact, which is another reason why they’re not spending time celebrating the program’s first division title since 2012.
“It’s a blessing and a burden,” defensive tackle John Atkins said. “It’s a blessing we won the East but it’s also a burden too. You have to show every game, every week, that you’re supposed to be the East champion.”