If not… well, there’s always next year.
Georgia, midway through November, once again finds itself in a terminal game with old foe Auburn. The game, frankly, is the entire season for the Bulldogs. Its about the same thing for the Tigers. Both have microscopic hopes of getting into the College Football Playoff. Both have their shot of getting to Atlanta for the SEC Championship, but neither controls its own destiny.
This is about the time I harken back to Mark Richt’s statement about Georgia in July at SEC Media Days. The media, all-knowing that it can be, picked South Carolina (now checking in at 2-5 in the SEC) to win the East.
Richt’s reaction: “I'm not happy to be named number two. I'm not going to start cheering that we're number two. I think in the end it's going to be Georgia.”
Its the end… and its either going to be Georgia or its not. And this weekend’s game with Auburn - unless there is a Titanic-like sinking of Missouri and Florida at the close of the season - will determine if Georgia has a shot to win the East or not. These Dawgs, who have played half of their conference slate without their best player, are going to either finish 6-2 or 5-3.
6-2, with a win over Auburn, seems like enough to get Richt and the Dawgs back to Atlanta again. Of course Missouri must lose again - which brings me to my next point: within a matter of minutes Sanford Stadium could go from total jubilation to utter sadness - or vice vera.
Missouri, which has a one-game lead, but must win out to ensure going to Atlanta again, has to play at Texas A&M and are 5.5-point underdogs on the road.
“I think home-field advantage might mean more this season than maybe some other seasons,” Richt said after Georgia’s tight win over Tennessee in September.
So far Richt has been correct about how important home field has been - at least for the Dawgs. Georgia’s two losses have come away from Athens. Home field hasn’t meant as much for Missouri as the Tigers’ two losses have come at home. But reality will strike at some point. Winning on the road is a difficult thing to do, and Missouri must travel to two of the five largest stadiums in the country and win over the next two weeks.
But if Richt is right, and “home-field advantage might mean more this season” and “in the end it's going to be Georgia” we could see a furious and very rare scene as midnight draws near in Sanford Stadium the night of November 15th.
If, and it is a big if, Georgia defeats Auburn you have to wonder if fans will stick around the stadium to watch to see if Texas A&M can defeat Missouri minutes later.
It could be one of the biggest and best moments in Sanford Stadium history, or it could be a deflating end to the season.
One way or the other, we are about to see if Mark Richt knows what he’s talking about.