Over the course of 10 games, the teams have switched roles. That was evident on Saturday when third-ranked Auburn dominated eighth-ranked Georgia 24-6.
"When you get beat like that there's not much you can say other than you got whooped," Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "I don't think there was a lack of fight. We just got outexecuted, we got outcoached and we got outplayed."
While unbeaten Auburn has already secured the SEC West title and a trip to the SEC championship, the Bulldogs can't win the SEC East unless Tennessee loses to both Vanderbilt and Kentucky over the next two weeks. The Bulldogs also slipped to 10th in the coaches poll, 11th in the media poll.
Instead of contending for conference and national championships, the Bulldogs must now turn their attention toward a Nov. 27 game against Georgia Tech and a likely trip to the Capital One Bowl or the Outback Bowl on New Year's Day.
"It's pretty humbling," quarterback David Greene said. "Right now we're 8-2 and obviously we wanted to be in the SEC Championship and had hopes of a national championship -- everything that they've got going for them right now."
Auburn was everything Georgia was not on Saturday. The Tigers outgained the Bulldogs 404 yards to 279 and dominated at the line of scrimmage, outrushing the Bulldogs 186 yards to 85 and recording three sacks without giving up any of their own.
Auburn rode running backs Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown to a 17-0 halftime lead and strengthened its lead to 24-0 early in the fourth quarter before Georgia finally scored with 2:13 left in the game.
"They came out and outplayed us tonight," Georgia linebacker Odell Thurman said. "We were trying to make history, go undefeated. Losing to Tennessee was real bad. To come down here and lose our second game of the season is real disappointing. They came out tonight and showed they were the better team."
GAME BALL GOES TO: Punter Gordon Ely-Kelso -- He proved to be one of the few bright spots for the Bulldogs, punting five times for a 43.2-yard average, including a 52-yarder. He also came through with a tough tackle on Auburn star Carnell Williams at the end of a 28-yard punt return.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "They kept moving the ball up and down the field. They were basically doing what they wanted to do the whole game and we weren't really doing anything on offense so I knew it was going to be a long day for us." -- Georgia WR Fred Gibson.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
LOOKING GOOD: Georgia left DE David Pollack in on a punt and he responded by blocking an attempt that gave the Bulldogs the ball at the Auburn 41.
STILL NEEDS SOME WORK: Georgia had red zone problems early in the season and struggled in Auburn territory, coming away empty-handed on three drives that reached the Auburn 25. "We blew it basically," Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "We missed a kick and had two turnovers."
ROSTER REPORT: Things could have been worse for the Bulldogs on Saturday. The best thing about the game was seeing WR Reggie Brown walk off the field after laying motionless for about five minutes following a vicious hit by Auburn safety Junior Rosegreen after a 15-yard reception across the middle. After nearly 10 minutes on the ground, Brown walked off the field under his own power with a concussion and did not return to the game. "The devastating loss would have been if Reggie would have gotten hurt really bad, the way I look at life," Richt said.
Georgia had hoped true freshman RB Danny Ware (knee, ankle) would be able to play against Auburn. He dressed for the game but did not play, so fellow freshman Thomas Brown carried the ball on 22 of Georgia's 25 designed running plays.