"I'm not the smartest man in the world, but that's what I was thinking," senior center Fernando Velasco said.
Instead, the Bulldogs fell a spot to No. 5 in the BCS rankings and watched from their team meeting room as it was announced that SEC champion LSU (11-2) and Big Ten champ Ohio State (11-1) will play for the national title.
"We got shafted," senior safety Kelin Johnson said. "I don't understand. Numbers don't lie, and they are lying right now. They really are lying. We just lost man, we just lost."
Quarterback Matthew Stafford called the development "interesting" in a tone that suggested he didn't think it was any such thing.
"I think a lot of guys right now feel like we got overlooked a little bit," Stafford said. "Hopefully, we can go out there and put a good show on and make some people think twice."
"Out there" would be the Sugar Bowl. The Bulldogs will play No. 10 Hawaii on Jan. 1 in the New Orleans Superdome. Georgia will be the home team and will wear the black jerseys it wore against Auburn, head coach Mark Richt said.
The WAC champion Warriors (12-0) are the only undefeated team in Division I-A and are led by quarterback Colt Brennan, who has thrown for 4,174 yards and 38 touchdowns this season. It's the third straight season he has surpassed 4,000 yards.
Georgia will be a heavy favorite against Hawaii, which is only the third team from outside a BCS conference to earn a bid to a BCS bowl game, but it will have to guard against the letdown factor.
"When I saw the coaches' poll come out, I was pretty convinced it wasn't going to happen for us," said Richt, who voted his team No. 2 and LSU No. 3 on his ballot. "I gave (the team) some heads up prior as to what I thought was going to happen because I didn't want them to get their spirits crushed right then when it happened."
The Bulldogs (10-2) were penalized by voters because they did not win their conference championship even though BCS rules allow non-conference champions to play for the national title, Richt said.
"Basically a rule that didn't exist got imposed on us which I didn't think was fair," Richt said. "Everybody who voted us fourth last week knew without question we were not going to win the conference championship, so why one week is it OK to have us ahead of some people and then the next week, ‘No, we can't do that.'"
Georgia remained at No. 4 in both polls that count toward the BCS rankings -- the Harris poll and the coaches' poll – while LSU jumped from No. 7 to No. 2 in the coaches' poll and from No. 5 to No. 2 in the Harris poll after beating Tennessee 21-14 on Saturday night in the SEC championship game. LSU didn't receive any first place votes last week in the coaches poll but received 11 Sunday.
Georgia received a first-place vote in the Harris poll, but it didn't do anything to make the Bulldogs feel better Sunday night.
"Your hopes have been crushed," Bulldogs tight end Tripp Chandler said. "Even for the past couple weeks, everything has been happening for us to get in there. We're ranked fourth. One and two go down, three moves up to one, four goes back one. We definitely got our hopes crushed, but there's nothing we can do about it but press on and get ready to play a very strong Hawaii team."