Another BCS mess?

ATHENS - As much as he hates to admit it, Georgia quarterback D.J. Shockley has thought about what happened to Auburn last year.

"Of course," he said. "I'd be lying if I said I didn't."

The Tigers finished undefeated in 2004 and didn't get a chance to play for the national championship. The No. 4 Bulldogs remained unbeaten by thumping Vanderbilt 34-17 on Saturday night in Nashville, but they're still behind three unbeaten teams in the national polls -- Southern Cal, Texas and Virginia Tech.

All three of those teams could finish the regular season unbeaten, and it's unlikely Georgia (6-0, 4-0 SEC) would move into a spot to play for the national title if that happened. The national championship race will ome into sharper focus today when the first BCS rankings are released. The Bulldogs are expected to be No. 4 in the standings.

Georgia coach Mark Richt understands his players are bound to start pondering the possibilities of going undefeated but will stress to them to take care of their own business, he said.

"When you're halfway through they year, and you haven't lost yet, I'm sure it's in the back of your mind, but you have to keep it in the back of your mind," Richt said. "I don't think it'll be too big a distraction. I think the main focus for us has to be about what we can control, and we can control what happens in the SEC race.

"When you start talking about national implications, we really don't have much control over that at all."

Georgia's next conference game is Saturday at 12:30 p.m. against Arkansas (2-4, 0-3). It will be the Bulldogs' first home game since Sept. 17.

The home fans will see a different team than the one that last played in Sanford Stadium. On defense, the Bulldogs will be without three starters due to injury -- defensive tackles Kedric Golston (elbow) and Gerald Anderson (concussion) and middle linebacker Tony Taylor (elbow). Offensively, Georgia's changes are more positive.

The Bulldogs have opened up the playbook in the last four games. Specifically, they've added a downfield passing game. Shockley completed just 15 passes against the Commodores but totaled 298 yards. He had completions of 53, 34, 31, 26, 23 and 21 yards, all to different receivers.

"I felt like looking at the season to this point, we probably hadn't taken enough shots downfield to loosen thing up," Richt said. "It does serve a purpose even if you don't hit it. There's nothing that will get a cornerback to back off a little bit than knowing he got beat even if you hit it or not."

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