Just a week removed from one of the Bulldogs' more dominant stretches in recent years, the Dawgs are back below .500 and facing a situation where every remaining game qualifies as "must-win."
The Bengals actually seem to be inching a little closer to a win -- for the second straight week they played an opponent to within a field goal before falling to 7-2 Montana State in overtime, 23-20. But ISU remains mired near the back of Division I-AA in nearly every major statistical category, meaning that the Dawgs will really have to come into this one listless and uninspired to make the outcome anything other than a blowout.
Worry level: Went up a tick, then flatlined again.
"Hi, guys, it's Florida. Just wanted to say great game on Saturday, you fought hard, and if you don't have any hard feelings about us just happening to reinstate Chris Rainey right before the game, then we don't have any hard feelings about that 'choke' thing that Grantham pulled while Chas Henry was lining up for the winning field goal. Honestly, we're as surprised as y'all are that our offense looked this good -- guess y'all didn't have mobile QBs figured out quite as well as you thought. So, uh, good luck handling Cam Newton in a couple weeks . . . did you know they laid 51 on Ole Miss? And Newton caught a TD pass? Well, uh . . . bye!" *BEEP*
Worry level: At this point, couldn't get much higher.
Had a bye last week, which gave them a chance to prep for tomorrow night's ACC Coastal showdown with Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. The Jackets are 5-3 and still have a shot at the division title, but haven't demonstrated the dominance, on either side of the ball, that lifted them to a conference championship last year. Thursday night's game will tell us a lot about what we can expect from them in the season finale.
Worry level: Steady.
Looking back: Three games last week featured teams Georgia lost to against teams Georgia beat, and in both cases the team that vanquished the Dawgs won. South Carolina knocked off Tennessee, 38-24, with a second-half surge that has become depressingly familiar to Vol fans, while Arkansas shrugged off a slow start and an early 14-6 deficit to pound Vanderbilt by five TDs. And Mississippi State still has a shot at a 10-win season after neutralizing the Kentucky offense and beating the Wildcats 24-17. As for the other two opponents the Dawgs faced earlier in the season, Louisiana-Lafayette lost by a touchdown at Ohio -- not State, but University of, as in the team that's currently tied for first place in the MAC East -- and Colorado got a 33-point jackhammering at Oklahoma to fall to 3-5. All in all, another less-than-stellar week for UGA's strength of schedule, and one that will only fan the flames of the inevitable "How the hell could we not have beaten [X]" recriminations at season's end.