ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia will know the hallways. It might have the same locker room. In its second trip to the Georgia Dome this season, the Bulldogs should not be in awe of its surroundings.
That might be one of the few advantages they have in the SEC championship against top-ranked Louisiana State University – if it’s even an advantage.
“Shoot, they went to the Jerry Dome. So they’ve had a bunch of big-game experiences too,” Georgia head coach Mark Richt said of LSU, which opened the season by beating Oregon at Cowboys Stadium, the glitzy home of the Dallas Cowboys.
Such is the task ahead for Richt’s team, which opens as double-digit underdogs to unbeaten LSU. The Tigers have also been steeled by highly hyped matchups against Alabama, Arkansas and West Virginia this season.
Arguably, LSU is setting up to have the most impressive résumé of any team in the BCS era.
“Our guys transfer the glare of the lights to making plays in the game,” Tigers coach Les Miles said. “We’re kind of comfortable in domes. And we’re looking forward to seeing if we can do the exact same thing on Saturday.”
LSU (12-0) boasts three wins over other teams that ranked in the top 10 of the BCS standings. It ranks first in the nation in defense.
Georgia (10-2) only owns two wins over two FBS teams that have a winning record: Georgia Tech (8-4) and Auburn (7-5). And it lost, convincingly, that season opener to Boise State in the Georgia Dome.
The hope for Georgia which ranks fifth in the nation in total defense, four spots behind LSU is that it has at least improved greatly since the last time it visited the Georgia Dome.
Or for that matter the team that lost the following week at home to South Carolina.
“We’re a team that certainly improved as the season went on,” Richt said. “We’ve done a lot of good things since Game 2. And until you play a team you really don’t know how you match up with them.”