Cornerback Damian Swann was rooting for Alabama to beat LSU on Nov. 3 because he thought an unbeaten Crimson Tide would be needed to get Georgia to the BCS title game.
It turned out that even with an Alabama loss to Texas A&M a week later, Kansas State and Oregon stumbled to open the path for one-loss Georgia and Alabama.
Most of the buzz was about how the Crimson Tide had moved back into driver’s seat to get to the national title game.
“You see it on TV, you can’t really hide from them,” Bulldogs receiver Rhett McGowan said. “Everybody is `Can Alabama get back in the national championship?’ for the past few weeks. It’s like they don’t even give us a chance. I like that. I don’t mind being the underdog. I don’t mind going under the radar.”
Doubts persist about how legitimate Georgia is.
Sports Illustrated convened a mock selection committee of athletic directors from 11 FBS conferences to pick a four-team playoff. Georgia was left out. Notre Dame, Alabama, Florida and Oregon were picked.
Former NFL quarterback Gary Danielson, the lead CBS analyst for the SEC who will work Saturday’s game, isn’t sure how good the Bulldogs really are.
“We don’t know how real Georgia is,” Danielson said. “They had a terrible slump in the middle of the season when even their own players called their team out. That seemed to ignite them. They played a very good defensive football team against Florida, but their quarterback had a really tough first half and he almost kind of tossed the game away that they should have won pretty easily. Since then when the rest of the country was playing really tough football games, Georgia has played Ole Miss, Auburn, Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech. They haven’t been tested.”
Danielson said the impact of losing receivers Michael Bennett and Marlon Brown to season-ending knee injuries isn’t known yet because the defenses haven’t tested Georgia like Alabama will.
“They’re going to be tested even if Marlon and Michael Bennett were here,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “They’d all be tested. It’s an outstanding secondary. They’ve got a good scheme and they do a good job of making your quarterback throw it sooner than he wants to. It’s more than just guys that can cover, it’s defenders that can put pressure on your passer. It’s definitely going to be a challenge. I don’t know if we’re going to be good enough or not. We’re just going to have to see.”
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