Georgia's 16-13 loss to the Gators, its 13th in 14 years, created a tie at the top of the Southeastern Conference East between the Bulldogs (7-2, 4-2) and Florida (6-3, 4-2). Tennessee is just one-half game back at 6-2 and 3-2.
If the Bulldogs, Volunteers and Gators win the remainder
of their SEC games, the three-way tie would have to be broken by a vote
of the league's athletic directors that aren't involved in the SEC Championship
However, if Georgia and Florida win out and Tennessee stumbles, the
Gators would win the division thanks to their head-to-head win over
Georgia. If the Bulldogs and Vols win out and the Gators lose another
league game, Georgia would go thanks to its win over Tennessee. And,
finally, if Georgia doesn't hold up its end of the bargain, Tennessee
goes on its win over Florida.
"People will be rooting for people they're not used to cheering
Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "The bottom line is for each team to stay
in this possible tie, each team has to win."
The Bulldogs, who fell from No. 4 to No. 9 on Sunday, have this weekend
off and will play Auburn on Nov. 15. After that, they finish their SEC
schedule with a home game against Kentucky on Nov. 22.
"If we play well from here on out, the worst we can do is a three-way
tie and rely on all that voting stuff," Georgia sophomore Bartley Miller
said. "We had hoped to ... win it outright."
Clearly a vote of the athletic directors isn't the ideal way to
determine a championship. In fact, it's seventh on the list of
tiebreakers, but the first six wouldn't separate any of the three teams
that could be at the top this year.
"I tried to read it a week or two ago, and I got down to No. 3 or 4
it got kind of confusing to me," Richt said. "I needed somebody to
interpret it for me."
The athletic directors of the three tied teams wouldn't be allowed to
participate in the vote, and neither would the West Champion.
On Sunday, Richt seemed less concerned about the tiebreaking
possibilities than about getting his worn out and depleted team in shape
for the remainder of the season. He also didn't spend much time
rehashing the heartbreaking loss to Florida, Georgia's sixth straight.
The Bulldogs threw for a season-low 188 yards but rushed for a
season-high 202 against the Gators.
"To sustain drives we still need some balance, but, 'Can we rely more
heavily on our running game?' We probably will have to," he said,
"especially early in the ballgame until the offensive line gets lathered
up a little bit."
Sunday was on off day for the coaches, and Richt didn't plan to look at
the tape of Saturday's game until today.
"Right now we're just going to take full advantage of this open date
terms of getting people rested," he said. "I know I had a three-hour
after lunch today which felt pretty good. I hope everybody is taking
advantage of (the day off)."
Georgia won't practice today. The Bulldogs will be on the field
Tuesday-Thursday of this week and then take off Friday-Sunday and begin
preparations for Auburn on Nov. 10.
East Champion could come down to vote
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