With Clemson and South Carolina on the slate the next few weeks, it is hard to look ahead. But one game this season that is flying under the radar is, to me, the most important game for the year.
No, it isn’t the Cocktail Party (although, in fairness, that game is the most important every year and it is imperative we beat the Gators for the third year in a row, but come on, just work with me).
The game September 28 against LSU will be the most important game for the Bulldogs this year.
Why? Three reasons.
1. Might have to stop the bleeding
If Georgia splits the Clemson and Carolina games like I am thinking they will, or heaven forbid they start off 0-2, then the LSU game will be a must win situation. I know for a team with SEC and National Title dreams, every game is a must win situation. But if things go bad in the first two games, the LSU game is one that will be necessary to win.
2. Keep the momentum going
If Georgia wins the first two games against the prides of the Palmetto State, then the game versus LSU is the only big test the Dawgs will face until the Cocktail Party.
One thing about these Georgia teams under Richt-rarely do we seem them in clicking on all clylinders until later in the year. 2002, 2007, 2012 they just kind of showed up and won some and lost some, but never looked impressive. By November, though, the teams were rocking and rolling and near unstoppable. For the Dawgs to beat Clemson and South Carolina, and then to beat LSU, they are going to have to be playing their “A” game early in the season. If the Dawgs can get to that apex point where they are playing great ball early in the season, watch out. The LSU game will be big to keep that momentum going.
3. LSU is a barometer for how UGA can do against Alabama
I think it about universally agreed upon that if Georgia wins the East, then they will face off against Alabama in a rematch for the SEC Championship.
If Georgia wants to take the next step on to Pasadena, then they are going to have to knock off the mighty Crimson Tide. I know you’ve heard the stories about how LSU is not going to be as good or they might struggle a little bit after losing so many people to the NFL. Not so fast, my friend!
Les Miles has still got a bunch of talent in Baton Rouge and the Bayou Bengals are still going to be big, fast, strong and athletic. They always have an outstanding defense led by John Chavis and despite the losses I don’t expect this year to be any different.
Remember, Alabama had to come back against this team a year ago and score with under a minute left. If LSU had hung on, they would have won the SEC West and played Georgia for a shot at a National Championship.
LSU plays the hard-hitting physical style that Alabama plays. Though this year I don’t think LSU will be quite as good as the Crimson Tide, if the Dawgs can hang with LSU and match them blow for blow, then that should bode well for the Dawgs if the rematch with Alabama comes to fruition.