Will Black Jerseys Be The Difference?
Some of the things that worked in Alabama's favor against Clemson to open the season in the GeorgiaDome could be in place against Georgia in Athens Saturday night. The Bulldogs were the pre-season national championship favorite. While running the record to 4-0, Georgia has slipped down to third in national polls, behind USC and Oklahoma.
The Bulldogs want to stay in touch with the top two spots, hoping to run the table in the rugged Southeastern Conference and use victory in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta as a springboard to Miami and the BCS National Championship Game in January.
Word from the Georgia camp is that a loss to Alabama wouldn't kill that goal. Hah!
Never doubt the pressure is on the Bulldogs in this game and in every game. But in this game because Alabama appears to be a more formidable opponent that was penciled in on Georgia schedules in the pre-season. Nevertheless, Bama will be the team with everything to gain, not too much to lose when given so little chance at success. Georgia, by contrast, has everything to lose.
Georgia watches Clemson because the Bulldogs and Tigers are recruiting rivals. They saw what Alabama did in that Atlanta game. The Crimson Tide, ranked 24th in the nation, blistered Clemson, ranked ninth in the nation, by a 34-10 margin. Most notable in that game was Bama holding the Tigers, who have two—not one, but two—of the best running backs in the nation to zero rushing yards.
Now Alabama is ranked eighth in the nation, pretty heady territory for a team that was 13-13 over the previous two seasons. While the Bulldogs have been oozing down, Bama has been climbing steadily in the national polls.
Georgia will be at home, and some consider that an advantage. Alabama Coach Nick Saban downplays that issue and his team accepts his precept that the field is the same for both teams.
One of the big stories of the week has been that Georgia has declared this a "Blackout Game." What that means is that the Georgia team will wear black jerseys and most of its fans will wear black shirts to the game. This is presumably meant to provide an emotional edge for the Bulldogs.
Playing against an excellent team like Georgia with many implications riding on the outcome is more than enough motivation for Alabama. In any event, Saban puts no stock in gimmicks such as the "Blackout."
Georgia doesn't need to have a gimmick, but it adds to the fun in Athens. The black jerseys will have nothing to do with the outcome. The Bulldogs wearing them are the concern in the Crimson Tide camp.
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