Kensington and I disagree on most topics and one that we disagree on is the imporatnce of the Tech game. He says Tech is one the most important games on the schedule.
But I think the Tech game is just another game. Yes, it is a rivalry game. Yes, if the Dawgs lose to Tech, we have to read all the comments from Tech fans all year about how great they are and it just feeds the inferiority complex that Tech has. Since they have no exploits on the gridiron to brag about, Tech fans brag about how great their school is, how smart they are, and how much money they are going to make. The last time I checked, the University of Georgia hanging in my office still means something, especially in the field I am working in. The whole “future boss” gimmick they have is just sad.
But in reality, there are several games on our schedule that are more important than the Tech game. Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina and Auburn are all more important as far as SEC Championship implications are concerned. The SEC Championship is the goal. I like to take the Pete Carroll approach. When Carroll was at USC, he said the team’s goal was to win the Pac 10 and go to the Rose Bowl every year. IF things break right and you play in the National Championship, then even better. USC played in the Rose Bowl in 2002, 2003, 2006-2008. Played for BCS National Championship in 2004 and 2005. Coach Richt has stated similar goals. He said what you can control is the SEC, and that is the goal. More often than not, if you win the SEC, aim to go to the Sugar Bowl, you stand a good chance to have special things happen after that. A victory over Tech is icing on the cake, but it does nothing to make sure the Dawgs win the SEC.
As a fan, would you rather go 12-1, win the SEC and lose to Tech, OR would you rather go 8-4, go to Outback Bowl but beat Tech? The difference between Tech and UGA is that I think Tech values the 2008 win against UGA more than the 2009 ACC Championship. I would think that UGA fans would value a championship season over a season when we beat Tech.
But this year is different. We NEED to beat Tech, and not because they are the instate rival. One, they are ranked, and if you want continue getting the program back on track, you have to reverse the trend of losing to ranked teams. Simple. Also, as I said last week, there is a huge difference between 9 win season and a 10 win season. If UGA beats Tech, it secures a 10 win regular season, which is pretty damn good. If the Dawgs lose to Tech, then you lose to another ranked team, stand a good chance of losing the SEC Championship game, and then the Bowl game is a crapshoot. Coach Richt has a great record in Bowl Games, but as we see every year, the best team doesn’t always win the bowl game. Bowls are based on emotion and if a team is disappointed to be there or not. If you are not in a major bowl, then it is hard to question the motivation of a team, and that affects the outcome.
The Dawgs NEED a win Saturday. You don’t know the bowl opponenent yet, and the LSU/Arkansas/Alabama game UGA will be a double digit underdog no matter who from the West we play. The past nine games were each must win games in order to save Coach Richt and get to Atlanta. Saturday is must win to gurantee and secure 10 wins, put an exclamation point on the season, and MOST importantly, secure and gurantee that UGA’s program is back on the right track and on solid footing.