"They have a big hurdle next weekend," VanGorder said of archrival Georgia Tech. "They know that if they can get over that hurdle that this year can be very special."
Getting back to the SEC championship game is the ultimate goal for the program right now and VanGorder's defense will go a long way in getting the Dawgs back to Atlanta for a second week and year in a row.
"It's going to mean a lot if we can get back to Atlanta because it is so hard to defend your title. To have a chance to get back into that game two years in a row in the SEC is very difficult," he said. No team has done that since Florida went in 1999 and 2000. The last team to win back to back SEC titles was Tennessee in 1997 and 1998.
The road back to that title game has been very difficult indeed. VanGorder says that each week Georgia has gotten the best game from its conference foes.
"Everyone that we have played in the conference this year knows that we are the defending champs and they know that we are a pretty good football team. So we expect to get the best," VanGorder said.
VanGorder and the rest of the Dawgs can expect the best from the upset-minded Jackets this weekend in Atlanta. The Dawgs will have to beat Tech just to have a chance to get back to Atlanta seven days after their game with the Jackets.