Happy Saturday from Sanford Stadium.
The conference season is now over for Georgia, which will play in Atlanta two weeks from today for the SEC title.
It’s triple-option season now.
Two weeks in a row. First it’s Georgia Southern today, which boasts the top rushing attack in FCS at more than 400 yards per game.
In honor of Erk Russell, somebody needs to headbutt a player or two out there.
Georgia clinched the SEC East last week at Auburn, but the next two weeks are more about staying alive for the BCS title game in Miami than preparing for the SEC title game against likely opponent Alabama.
“If you’re in Miami, you’ve taken care of everything in Atlanta,” receiver Tavares King said. “That’s the ultimate goal for us. Let’s be honest. Right now we’ve got to take care of Georgia Southern and (Georgia) Tech and then we’ll worry about that.”
Assuming Georgia gets the win against Georgia Southern, the more important games for Georgia to get to the BCS title game are happening elsewhere.
Georgia is hoping for two of the three unbeatens to lose. So where might that happen today?
Well Notre Dame hosts Wake Forest at 3:30 p.m. as a 24-point favorite.
Oregon is home against Stanford at 8 p.m. ET. The Ducks are favored by 20 ½.
The oddsmakers say Kansas State is most vulnerable tonight at 8 at Baylor. The Wildcats are favored by 12.
One early pregame note. Georgia Southern All-American defensive tackle Brent Russell joined his teammates in a pregame walk on the field.
That’s a strong indication his suspension is over. Colleague Donald Heath from the Savannah newspaper spotted him for me.
Today’s game is on WSB-TV in Atlanta. Georgia opted for that route for the second year in a row instead of pay-per-view.
“It more or less is a goodwill gesture back to the state to those fans who aren’t able to see it,” athletic director Greg McGarity said. “It also provides us an infomercial that is going to be witnessed by everyone even if you are on cable. It just provides us an opportunity to promote the institution, not only in football but in Georgia in general.”
McGarity said Georgia will look each year at the possibility of scheduling a pay-per-view game.
“We’ll look at each year,” McGarity said. “A lot may depend on who the opponent is. …Each year would depend on the time of the game, the date of the game and the opponent.”
Georgia plays North Texas on Sept. 21 and Appalachian State on Nov. 9 next season.
–Offensive right guard Chris Burnette (shoulder) and running back Richard Samuel (abdominal strain) weren’t dressed out for the Dawg Walk today, indicating they are out. Defensive end Abry Jones went through the Dawg Walk on crutches. He had ankle surgery, but there’s a chance he could return for the bowl game.
–Hey, there’s a 2005 Georgia offensive reunion going on pregame. Former Bulldogs QB D.J. Shockley, running backs coach and former wideout Bryan McClendon and graduate assistant and former offensive lineman Daniel Inman are chatting it up.
–Jarvis Jones, Georgia’s relentless pass rusher, may have a hard time adding to his double-digit sack total before the Southeastern Conference championship game.
That’s because Jones and the Bulldogs are going up against teams that don’t drop back to pass too often and therefore aren’t getting sacked much.
In 10 games, Georgia Southern has given up seven sacks and Georgia Tech has allowed 11.
“I hate games like this, personally,” Jones said. “I’m sure everybody on defense does, too. This week is going to be very intense, especially in practice because everybody hates it. They’re kind of p-d off having to go through it.”
Jones leads all active SEC players with 23 career sacks and 35 ½ tackles for loss.
He has 10 ½ sacks this year, within range of David Pollack’s single-season record of 14 with four games still to play.
Jones rang up a sack last year against Georgia Tech so he still may close in on the record the next two weeks.
–In case you didn’t see this earlier this morning, Jones is one of four finalists for the Lombardi Award. for nation’s top lineman or linebacker. The other finalists: Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o, South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney and Alabama’s Barrett Jones.
-Former Georgia defensive lineman Bill Goldberg, the former star professional wrestler, is here. He watched Georgia players warmup in the back of the end zone.
–More to come leading up to kickoff.
–Please follow me at Twitter.com/marcweiszer