ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia can return to Atlanta to play for a Southeastern Conference championship for the first time since 2005 with two home wins. Or perhaps just one.
The Bulldogs (7-2, 5-1) got the help they were hoping for from Arkansas on Saturday night with the Razorbacks’ 44-28 win against South Carolina to put the Bulldogs in sole possession of first place in the SEC East.
Georgia fans were thrilled, so was a tired coach Mark Richt, who watched the game on the couch at his home with his wife, Katharyn.
“We were excited, no doubt, but we didn’t jump up and dance or anything,” Richt said Sunday.
That will almost certainly happen if the Bulldogs win the East.
Georgia is assured of the division title if it beats Auburn on Saturday and Kentucky a week later, but the Bulldogs could wrap things up as early as this weekend.
If South Carolina (7-2, 5-2) loses to Florida, the Bulldogs can seal the deal with a victory in its game against the Tigers (6-3, 4-2).
The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry will match ranked teams for the first time since 2007 – when Georgia beat Auburn in the Bulldogs’ blackout game 45-20. The Bulldogs opened this week as a 12 1/2-point favorite.
“I know they all understand what’s at stake and the fact that we are in a better position now,” Richt said of his team. “We do control our destiny. We’ve been fighting like mad for that ever since the moment South Carolina beat us, but the thing that’s gotten us this far, just on a weekly basis, is just trying to take care of business.”