ATHENS, Ga. — It didn’t take long for a silver 2012 SEC Eastern Division champions plaque to appear on a wall in Georgia’s football team meeting room.
Tanner Stines, Georgia’s coordinator of graphics and displays, put it up on Monday morning.
“I walked in and saw it and smiled. It’s awesome,” receiver Tavarres King said. “We’ve got a chance to add two. We’ve got a chance to add a red and a black.”
The red plaques to the left of the SEC East grouping are the years Georgia wins SEC champions. The black plaques to the right lists the national championship seasons of 1980 and 1942.
“That red one is the first thing on our minds right now,” King said. “We’re going to try to get that one. If everything plays out the way I hope it does, the way everybody else around hopes it does than we’ll have an opportunity to get a black one, as well.”
While Georgia coach Mark Richt said he hasn’t spoken to his players about getting caught up in talk about which two teams will get to the BCS title game in Miami, players know that a stumble in Saturday’s game against Georgia Southern or a week later against rival Georgia Tech will kill their BCS championship dreams.
That has made those non-conference games take on extra incentive this year.
“Maybe if we had two or three losses it would be a little bit different,” said cornerback Sanders Commings, a former Westside star. “At the beginning of the season, our goal was Miami, and to still be a part of that conversation, I think it’s going to encourage everyone to play hard.”
Georgia players can now turn on the television to see the BCS standings revealed on Sunday nights and see Georgia up there. The top five this week were unbeatens Kansas State, Oregon and Notre Dame followed by Alabama and Georgia.
“The past years I’ve been here, you’re not used to seeing that,” Commings said. “You turn the TV on and you’re like, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s us. That’s Georgia.’ It’s a great feeling.”
Georgia plays a 1:30 p.m. game Saturday, so the players will have a chance to watch for themselves as the unbeaten teams above them in the standings play.
“If someone loses, that’s a blessing,” center David Andrews said.
“I’m definitely going to be watching the Kansas State, Oregon and Notre Dame matchups the next few weeks to hopefully see two of them lose,” quarterback Aaron Murray said.
Notre Dame kicks off at home against Wake Forest at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
At 8 p.m, Oregon plays host to No. 13 Stanford and Kansas State plays at Baylor.
“I’ve been cheering for weeks,” linebacker Christian Robinson said. “We got out of the locker room after the Ole Miss game and no one left because we were all watching the Notre Dame game. Everybody in the nation knows we’re cheering for other teams because, at this point, that’s the only way we’d ever have a chance to get in. … We’re watching. I’m sorry. We want you guys to lose.”
Georgia players had a toned-down celebration of their SEC East title this time around after the 38-0 win at Auburn on Saturday, knowing they aspire for more.
“When we started talking about what we wanted to do this year, we wanted to win the East and get back and prove that we’re not just a decent team, but a team that should have the opportunity to play for a national championship,” Robinson said. “That’s been our whole mindset — getting back and not stopping there.”
Going to Atlanta is familiar this year.
“We have been there, we have done that, but we haven’t done one thing and that’s win,” King said. “Last year, our destiny was to get to the (Georgia) Dome. This year we want to win in the Dome.”
And not stop there.
“We all came here to win and we want to have a chance to play for the national championship,” Robinson said. “Obviously, we lost a game and now we’re kind of playing from the outside in.”
Said Murray: “There’s nothing wrong with thinking big and dreaming big, but still making sure that we focus on these next two weeks and we finish this regular season off strong.”