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The Seminoles could be headed to Atlanta on New Year's Eve for a second straight year, this time to face Auburn.
Georgia's ten game winning streak and SEC East Division title have catapulted head coach Mark Richt and Bulldog program from September dud to a potential BCS contender, but until the Dawgs finish their regular season run this Saturday against LSU in the SEC Championship, their bowl destination is still cloudy.
With projections for the national title holding strong as an all-SEC affair between LSU and Alabama, provided UGA loses Saturday, they'd technically be eligible for every SEC bowl tie-in. Waiting in the wings is two-loss Arkansas, who is six spots ahead of UGA in the BCS, and could be taken by the Cap One (the non-BCS bowl with the first choice among SEC teams).
Two projections from ESPN have the Bulldogs in the Cap One Bowl January 2 in Orlando and the Outback Bowl January 2 in Tampa, while Sports Illustrated projects Georgia will play in the Cotton Bowl against Kansas State and January 6. Then again, if the Bulldogs upset the No. 1 ranked team in the country this weekend in Atlanta, they'll advance to the BCS, and would likely play in the Sugar Bowl.
Georgia Tech is considered a lock for the Sun Bowl in El Paso on December 31. Sun Bowl officials told the AJC on Saturday that the Yellow Jackets were "our team" from the ACC. Tech could still be chosen by the Champs Sports Bowl first, but it's likely that game would select the loser of the Clemson / Virginia Tech ACC Championship on Saturday. If the Jackets do take the Sun Bowl bid, the most popular projection from the Pac-12 side of that game's tie-in is Utah.
Georgia comes in at No. 14 in the latest edition of the BCS Rankings. LSU and Alabama are still holding onto the top spots and appear to be on a collision course for a rematch in the BCS Title game.
Georgia is a consensus top 15 team checking in at No. 12 in the latest AP Poll and at No. 14 in this week's USA Today coaches poll. The Bulldogs have a chance to make a solid impression on everyone when they take on LSU in the SEC Championship game.
The Tigers are the consensus No. 1 team in both polls and is followed by Alabama at No. 2. Oklahoma State takes the No. 3 spot in the AP poll and is followed by Stanford and Virginia Tech. The coaches poll has Virginia Tech at No. 3 followed by Oklahoma State and Stanford. The coaches were harshest to Arkansas who fell to No. 10 in the coaches poll but remains No. 6 in the AP Poll.
Here is a look at the full AP Poll for Week 14:
Here is the full USA Today coaches Poll for Week 14:
Georgia is expected to stay at No. 13 in the latest BCS standings when they are released this evening. Georgia needs to beat LSU in the SEC title game to be able to go to a BCS game.
Aaron Murray had to be at his best to carry Georgia through their in-state rivalry game with Georgia Tech to let his teammates heal before next week's SEC Championship. He threw away the Bulldogs' first drive, but played almost mistake free football from then on, including four touchdowns and 252 yards in Georgia's 31-17 win over the Yellow Jackets at Bobby Dodd Stadium Saturday.
Freshman Isaiah Crowell was held out of the game with a sprained ankle despite warming up with the team and dressing for the game. The move was made ostensibly to keep the freshman fresh for LSU in next week's SEC title game, and thanks to Murray's passing the Bulldogs' opportunistic takeaways, Crowell was barely missed.
Tech quarterback Tevin Washington threw two third quarter interceptions, allowing Georgia to extend a 17-10 lead to 31-10. Washington was replaced by true freshman Syngyn Day, who led the Yellow Jackets to a touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter.
The Tech triple option was held to 243 yards, almost 80 yards under their average on the season. Entering the game, the Bulldogs were ranked second in the country in rushing defense (84.5 yards allowed per game). The Yellow Jackets and Bulldogs both averaged 4.6 yards a carry, as freshman Ken Malcome lead the team with 39 yards in the absence of Crowell.
Georgia (10-2, 7-1 SEC) extends their school record winning streak to ten games, and will be No. 1 LSU in the SEC Championship next week in the Georgia Dome. Georgia Tech finishes the year 8-4, and will await their bowl fate.
Orwin Smith put Georgia Tech back on the board after a disastrous second half for the Yellow Jackets, scoring on a 16-yard touchdown run to cut the Georgia lead to 31-17 in the fourth quarter.
Tech turned to freshman quarterback Syngyn Days for a spark after Tevin Washington's two interceptions let Georgia jump to a 21 point lead. The Powder Springs native led a six play, 65-yard drive down the field - including a 36 yard pass to Stephen Hill - but Tech elected not to go for an on-sides kick following the score.
Two third quarter interceptions thrown by Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington have voided any potential comeback attempt for the Yellow Jackets, as Aaron Murray hit his fourth touchdown pass of the day to Aaron White, a three yard catch to give Georgia a 31-10 lead.
The drive began on the Tech 38-yard-line after Washington was picked off by Georgia's Shawn Williams, the second time in the third quarter that Georgia began a scoring drive in Tech territory. Murray is now 18 of 26 for 236 yards, four TDs and one interception, stepping up for the Bulldog offense as freshman tailback Isaiah Crowell is being held out with an ankle injury.
Georgia wasted no time in building on their lead in the third quarter, thanks to a short field and the hot hand of Aaron Murray. The Bulldogs now lead Georgia Tech 24-10 after a touchdown pass from Murray to Taverres King for three yards.
The three play, 36-yard drive was aided by Brandon Boykin's 60-yard return of the opening kickoff of the half, which set up Murray and company on the Tech 36-yard-line, their best field position of the day. Orson Charles took a Murray pass all the way to the 4-yard-line of the Jackets before fumbling the ball, but quickly recovered.
The Bulldogs have now driven 94 yards in only 2:36 for 10 points in their last two drives after Tech's touchdown drive cut the lead to four in the second quarter.
Paul Johnson's Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets could've taken a four-point deficit and the benefit of a strong last drive on offense to the locker room at halftime, but his timeout to "freeze" Blair Walsh ended up giving the Georgia kicker a second chance - Walsh missed the first kick attempt from 41 yards after Johnson called the timeout, but nailed the next try.
The Bulldogs looked especially efficient moving the ball with just 1:13 remaining in the half after a Tech touchdown drive cut their lead to 14-10, including a 22-yard scramble from quarterback Aaron Murray. But Tavares King would step out of bounds a yard short on an uncovered completion to create a 3rd and 1 Georgia wouldn't be able to convert on, setting up the Walsh field goal.
Murray is 13 of 18 at the half for 193 yards and two touchdowns. He threw an interception on the Bulldogs' opening drive, but has looked nearly flawless since. Led by A-back Roddy Jones (seven carries, 55 yards) Georgia Tech has run the ball 30 times for 164 yards (5.5 a carry, which is actually less than UGA's 6.8 average with only nine attempts).
David Sims gave Georgia Tech their first touchdown of the day after a grinding 80-yard drive that was textbook Yellow Jackets triple-option: the entire campaign consisted of 14 running plays that took most of the second quarter (7:07 possession time). Tech now trails the Bulldogs 14-10.
After a relatively slow start and settling for a field goal on their first trip to the red zone, Tech has returned to form, with 165 yards in the first half so far, on pace to meet their per-game average of 325. The total already doubles the Bulldogs' average rushing yards allowed per game this season.
Aaron Murray and the Georgia offense exploited the run-fake to perfection, and a wide-open Chris Conley caught a 14-yard pass for another Georgia touchdown, as the Bulldogs lead 14-3 in the second quarter.
The Bulldogs went 80 yards in eight plays and 3:56 almost solely on the arm of Murray (UGA rushed for only three yards on the entire drive), who hit Orson Charles for a 31-yard pass and then Malcon Mitchell for a 14-yard strike. Murray is currently 11 of 14 yards for 170 yards passing, one interception and two touchdowns. Since throwing the pick on the Dogs' first drive of the game, Murray has looked nearly perfect.
Justin Moore hit a 22-yard field goal to help cut Georgia's lead over Georgia Tech to 7-3 early in the second quarter. The 10-play, 75-yard drive responded to UGA's touchdown strike, but was nearly cut short when the Jackets were faced with a 4th and 1 on their own 29.
However, Georgia was called for offsides on a hard count by Tech quarterback Tevin Washington, who would rush for 23 yards on the next play to put the Jackets in Bulldog territory. Tech rolled up 51 rushing yards on the drive, the longest of the game so far.
Aaron Murray hit Michael Bennett for the first touchdown of the day, a 15 yard strike to cap off a five play, 76 yard drive late in the first quarter to take a 7-0 lead over Georgia Tech. The touchdown pass is Murray's 29th of the season, continuing a school record for TD passes in a single year. Murray is currently 6 of 8 for 93 yards.
Carlton Thomas has worked as the primary running back for the Bulldogs thus far, as it looks like head coach Mark Richt is keeping injured Isaiah Crowell (ankle) out of the game today in preparation for next week's SEC Championship game against LSU.
Tech's triple option has been limited thus far, gaining only 34 yards rushing in only 5:19 of possession.
Georgia's freshman phenom running back Isaiah Crowell is on the team's dress-out list and currently participating in warm up drills with the running backs unit, according to Dawgs 24/7. Crowell sprained his ankle in last week's win over Kentucky, limiting him to just two carries.
Meanwhile, junior Carlton Thomas was also listed as dressing out. Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo confirmed Thomas would return to the team after sitting out the Kentucky game for "personal reasons."
Georgia (9-2, 7-1 SEC) will open a two-week stand of games in Atlanta today as six point favorites at in-state rival Georgia Tech (8-3, 5-3 SEC), a week before they'll face undefeated LSU (12-0, 8-0 SEC) in the Georgia Dome for the SEC Championship.
The line has remained steady throughout the week, seeing some movement at certain sports books from 5.5, but otherwise still. That's likely due in part to the anticipated match up between Georgia's No. 4 total defense nationally (263.5 yards allowed per game) and No. 2 rushing defense (81.3 yards allowed per game) against the Tech triple option that's second in the nation in rushing yards per game (323.5 yards per game).
Recent history has favored Tech's offense - in the last three meetings the Yellow Jackets have averaged 34.1 points and 341.7 rushing yards - but Georgia has never brought a Top 5 defense to a GT/UGA game featuring head coach Paul Johnson's triple option.
No time for leftover-scarfing or Black Friday gauntlet-running -- the battle for the state of Georgia is Saturday, and our split-personality previewers are all over it.
While Georgia's running back situation is getting talked about the most, the likely match up that will decide the outcome of Saturday's game will be the Bulldogs defense against Georgia Tech's spread option offense. During its second season under defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, the Bulldogs defense has risen to a No. 4 ranking among all FBS schools. Georgia is second in the nation against the run but that is sure to be tested against the Yellow Jackets.
Georgia Tech is second in the nation in rushing yards and is led by its dual threat quarterback Tevin Washington. The Yellow Jackets are averaging 34.3 points and 341.7 yards rushing in the last three match ups against Georgia. However, the Bulldogs have won two in a row over the Yellow Jackets and nine of the last ten meetings.
Date, Time: Saturday, November 26 12:00 PM ET
Location: Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta Georgia
Radio: Bulldog Radio Network
Could not approve of this move more. The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets will include departed Georgia Bulldogs announcer Larry Munson in a memorial just before the two rivals take the field. Wes Durham, 790 The Zone's Georgia Tech play-by-play announcer, who's counted himself as an admirer and friend of Munson's, will lead proceedings.
Former Tech All-American Hal Miller, a co-captain of the 1952 championship team, and Georgia broadcasting legend Larry Munson, both of whom died this week, will be honored in a pregame ceremony led by Tech play-by-play voice Wes Durham. It will take place just before the senior-day recognition.
There will be grumbles from a small portion or two of Bobby Dodd Stadium, but Durham is sufficiently respected among Jackets fans to quell any who might be short-sighted enough to have a problem with this. The very few Tech fans who won't appreciate the gesture will quickly get over it.
This week's ACC football action is highlighted by the Virginia Tech-Virginia match up that will decide who gets the Coastal Division title.
Its rivalry week around the SEC with Arkansas-LSU, Alabama-Auburn and Georgia-Georgia Tech highlighting this week's action.
Tech fans love to denigrate Bulldog Nation as rednecks, but their own school's façade of innovation disguises policies that are as regressive as anything on a major college campus today.
Georgia running back picture for Saturday's match up against Georgia Tech became a little clearer on Tuesday as offensive coordinator Mike Bobo updated the status of running backs Carlton Thomas and Isaiah Crowell. Bobo said that Thomas would play in Saturday's game after missing the Kentucky game due to personal reasons.
Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo on tailback Carlton Thomas' status for Georgia Tech: "Carlton is playing." #UGA
Bobo wasn't quite as emphatic about Crowell who suffered an ankle injury early in the win over Kentucky.
Bobo on Crowell: "I expect him to play ... There are bumps and bruises that go every week. And I think he'll be ready to go on Saturday."
Crowell is Georgia's leading rusher with 832 yards and five touchdowns on the season. Carlton Thomas is second on the team with 327 yards and two touchdowns. Former walk-on Brandon Harton ran for over 100 yards against Kentucky after Crowell was lost to injury.
The No. 23 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets should have both Orwin Smith and Stephen Hill available when they take on the No. 13 Georgia Bulldogs this weekend in a rivalry game that has both teams currently ranked in the top 25. When asked about the injuries to Hill and Smith, Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson had this to say: via ramblinwreck.com
He's (Smith) good to go....We'll know more after practice today, but we're assuming we're going to have all those guys.
Orwin Smith has 10 rushing touchdowns on the season which is good for second on the team behind Tevin Washington's 14. Smith has carried the ball 53 times for 570 yards, good for an astounding 10.8 yards per carry average. Stephen Hill is the teams' leading receiver with 23 receptions for 707 yards and four touchdowns. Smith is second on the team with 12 receptions for 286 yards and a touchdown.
Richt said about TB Isaiah Crowell: "I think there's a chance he plays." Crowell is dealing with a sprained left ankle.— @marcweiszer via Twitter
Losing Crowell would be a huge blow to the Dawgs as he leads the team with 172 carries for 832 yards on the season, Carlton Thomas is second on the team with just 59 carries. Crowell is averaging 4.8 yards per carry and has five touchdowns on the season.
The pressure might fall on Dawgs quarterback, Aaron Murray, if Crowell is unable to go against the Yellow Jackets. Last year Murray went 15-19 for 271 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Dawgs to the 42-34 victory over the Yellow Jackets.
Running back Carlton Thomas returned to practice on Monday but the Bulldogs' backfield picture is still unclear heading into Saturday's game with Georgia Tech.
Georgia opens as a 5.5 point favorite over Georgia Tech in their annual rivalry game.
Despite clinching the SEC's Eastern division crown, the Georgia Bulldogs failed to make up much ground in this week's BCS Rankings for Week 13. Despite little movement from the Bulldogs, the SEC is well represented and in position to put two different teams in the BCS Title game.
LSU remains undefeated and is still sitting in the No. 1 spot. Alabama moves back up to No. 2 and is followed by another SEC West team in Arkansas at No. 3. The Razorbacks have a playoff game of sorts with LSU on Friday that could effectively decide who could earn a trip to the championship game. Oklahoma State falls two slots to No. 4 after losing to Iowa State and Virginia Tech enters the top five at No. 5.
Undefeated Houston jumps into the top 10 at No. 8 while Oklahoma and Oregon fall to No. 9 and No. 10 after losing to Baylor and USC respectively.
South Carolina is ranked No. 12 and one spot ahead of Georgia who will be representing the eastern division in the SEC Championship game. Clemson tumbles to No. 17 after its upset loss to N.C. State. Georgia Tech is at No. 23 and Auburn No. 24 in the latest rankings.
Here is a look at the full BCS Rankings for Week 13:
|Harris Poll||USA Today||Computer Rankings|
The Peach State rivalry will be televised nationally as both teams look to solidify their place in the bowl picture.
Georgia fielded arguably its two worst teams of the Mark Richt era in 2009 and '10 and still managed to beat Georgia Tech, though the margins of victory were much slimmer than they were in the early years of Richt's tenure. Whatever else Georgia fans would like to believe about their superiority over their in-state arch rivals in terms of talent, recruiting, tailgating or whatever else, Tech isn't an automatic win anymore. And after giving up more than 1,000 net rushing yards in three meetings against Paul Johnson's triple-option attack, it's clear that the Dawgs need to get a lot better on defense if they are to enjoy those nice comfy wins once again. In a season with a fairly wide-open SEC East race, it'd be a shame for the Dawgs to bounce back from last year's losing record and win the division, only to stumble on the Flats and end the regular season with a loss.
BETTER KNOW THE YELLOW JACKETS
Coach: Paul Johnson, 26-14 in three seasons at Georgia Tech, 133-52 overall
Last season: 6-7, 4-4 ACC Coastal (3rd); lost to Air Force 14-7 in the Independence Bowl
Returning starters for 2011: 12 (six offense, five defense, one special teams)
Key returners: RB Roddy Jones, OG Omoregie Uzzi, LB Julian Burnett, LB Steven Sylvester
Key losses: QB Josh Nesbitt, RB Anthony Allen, LB Anthony Egbuniwe, CB Dominique Reese
Best-case scenario: With another year of experience in Todd Grantham's system behind them and a lot more beef up front, the Georgia defense stifles the triple-option, while Aaron Murray goes to work on the rebuilding GT secondary and keys the Dawgs' 10th "Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate" victory in their last eleven tries. There's precedent for that -- two years ago, in what would turn out to be Willie Martinez's final game as defensive coordinator, the Dawgs faced a Tech team that later won the ACC title and held them to just 205 rushing yards, their third-lowest total of the season. Granted, that squad was able to run Tech off their own field with huge rushing performances from Washaun Ealey and Caleb King, but while one-half of that tandem may be gone, Aaron Murray is probably the best quarterback the Jackets will face all season, and he'll be throwing against a secondary that's replacing all four of last year's starters. The Jackets have just as much work to do on defense as the Dawgs, if not more, to win convincingly and make a statement in this rivalry.
Worst-case scenario: The Dawgs get outcoached and outhustled in the trenches once again and cough up a loss in another season-ending shootout. Since Paul Johnson came to town, this game has averaged 72 total points, and it's clear the Dawgs have a lot of work to do to keep the Jackets' ground game in check. We've heard a lot of talk about how much bigger, smarter, and better-conditioned the Dawgs' defensive front is this year, but we won't know for sure until they start playing, and Tech's deceptive running attack is specifically designed to grind out clock and wear out opponents. Twice in the last three years the Dawgs have seen a healthy lead crumble in the second half, so let's hope that better training and conditioning has made them more capable of standing firm in the fourth quarter.
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