Backing Away From the Exit Aisle

ATHENS - Wednesday morning, after the carnage of the last four days, Georgia fell to No. 42 in the RPI.

That’s obviously much worse than a week ago today when Georgia beat Texas A&M and was No. 20 in the RPI - firmly in the tournament and rocketing towards something along the lines of a low six or high seven seed.

I try to take the 40,000-foot view of things in sport. Georgia is still in the tournament, for now, but while taking in the view from 40,000 feet in the air I’ve seen the Bulldogs go from flying coach strapping on parachutes and moving their way towards the exit aisle.

Are they going to jump?

The next two games of the season are pivotal for Georgia. Both are road games, and we are at the point in the season where each game is taking on monumental value.

The trip to No. 68 Alabama this weekend is for 6th place in the SEC. If Georgia losses the game it will have gone from 4th place to 7th place in a matter of three games. A loss to the Tide would drive the Dawgs’ RPI further down, and once you get around No. 50 in the RPI you are in some serious trouble. A win, however, sets up a critical tilt a week from today.

Georgia’s game at No. 38 Ole Miss might be the most important game of the season because it is Georgia’s only real winnable opportunity in the last five games of the season against a team that matters. Yes, Georgia plays Kentucky, buy will likely be double-digit underdogs in Athens with a sizable Cat crowd on hand. The game with the Rebels is Georgia’s best shot to move themselves either on the right side of the bubble or off the bubble for good - but off the bubble seems a little bit like wishful thinking after the back-to-back pitiful performances we’ve all witnessed.

The final three games of the season, vs. No. 188 Missouri, vs. No. 1 Kentucky, at No. 148 Auburn, don’t really help or hurt Georgia if things go as they should. Losses to either set of Tigers might end all hope. Beating the Cats might be all Georgia needs. But reality dictates that Georgia needs to be Missouri and Auburn more than it needs to worry about the Cats. Losing to Kentucky doesn’t hurt Georgia. A school like Georgia is rarely in a no-lose situation, but this is one of them.

If SEC standings hold up as the are right now Georgia will have a must-win game on Thursday night in Nashville - either No. 188 Missouri or No. 110 Vanderbilt. Losing another 100-pus-level team is a non-starter for the Dawgs.

That would set up another matchup against No. 35 Texas A&M, and that might serve as a de facto NCAA play-in game.

One way or the other, Georgia needs to figure out how to win four more games. Georgia is guaranteed to play six more games before the NCAAs… that’s it.

They’ve got some work to do backing away from the exit aisle, and now it’s not going to be so easy.


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