Dawgs, Tigers uneasy about pulling for rivals

ATHENS - The normal realities of the Southeastern Conference will be turned upside down Saturday.

As Georgia and Auburn prepare for their 7:45 p.m. game on ESPN, Bulldog fans will be cheering on Steve Spurrier and Tiger fans will be rooting for, that's right, Alabama.

"Auburn's got to cheer for Alabama, huh?" Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "That'll be fun. I've got no problem cheering for Spurrier right now."

If Spurrier's Gamecocks beat Florida in the 12:30 p.m. game on Jefferson-Pilot, it will take virtually all the pressure off the No. 9 Bulldogs (7-1, 5-1). Georgia would clinch the SEC East with a win over either Auburn or Kentucky instead of both at that point.

The No. 15 Tigers (7-2, 5-1) need their arch-rival to beat LSU in the 3:30 p.m. game on CBS to improve their chances of winning the SEC West. LSU already owns the tiebreaker against Auburn and finishes the season with Ole Miss and Arkansas, so Auburn needs the Crimson Tide to beat LSU to set up a winner-take-all Iron Bowl.

"Whether or not we want to admit it, we'll be paying attention to what's happening in those games," Richt said. "It'll either be a boost or a letdown. We'll try to keep (the players) busy, but I'm sure they'll know who won by the time we kick off."

No matter the meaning of the game, several Bulldogs said they won't root for Spurrier on principle. As Florida's coach, Spurrier was 11-1 against Georgia.

"No, I'd never do that," running back Thomas Brown said. "I can't root for (Spurrier or Florida). If we keep winning, it doesn't matter what Florida does."

Safety Greg Blue indicated he'd like to make things as hard as possible on the Gators.

"If they win and we win, it'll make them feel even worse," he said. "Florida can win. We just have to do our job."

Quarterback D.J. Shockley, though, thinks Bulldog Nation may feel differently.

"I remember when we played South Carolina, all the talk was about Spurrier and how much everybody hated Spurrier, so I think everybody is turning now," he said. "Now they're loving Steve Spurrier."

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