Georgia has been top dog in series

ATHENS, Ga. --- The only remaining championship goal for Georgia is one it has won seven consecutive years.


Georgia's preseason No. 1 ranking is a distant memory; there will be no national championship for the No. 13 Bulldogs this season.

There also will be no South-eastern Conference title for the Bulldogs, thanks to lopsided losses to Alabama and Florida.

Now Georgia is left with one regular-season game against Georgia Tech to retain the state bragging rights it has held each of Mark Richt's first seven seasons as coach.

Georgia, off this weekend, will try for its first eight-game winning streak in the series when it plays Georgia Tech on Saturday.

Seven years is a long time in the lives of college football players and coaches.

George O'Leary was Georgia Tech's coach for that 27-15 win over the Bulldogs in Athens in 2000. The Yellow Jackets went through coach Chan Gailey's full six-year run as coach without beating the Bulldogs.

In the past seven years, Georgia has had two additions to Sanford Stadium, won two SEC championships, enjoyed five seasons with 10 or more wins and played in three Sugar Bowls.

The constant in that time has been wins over the Yellow Jackets. On Saturday, another Georgia senior class will try to leave Athens without a loss to the team's in-state rival.

Senior fullback Brannan Southerland said he feels the burden of continuing the streak.

"It's something that's special. It's hard," Southerland said. "It's not just this team, it's the past seven teams. You want to continue the legacy and go out as a senior on top of Tech, your biggest in-state rival. It's huge. We're working hard.

"We don't want to be the senior class that lost to Tech."

Georgia has won 33 of the past 44 games in the series. Georgia Tech's only notable surge in recent history was three consecutive wins that led to Georgia's decision to fire Jim Donnan in 2000.

Recent close scores -- 15-12 in 2006 and 31-17 last year -- could help keep Georgia players wary of an upset.

"The last couple of years have been tight, down to the wire, especially the last time they played here," Southerland said. We have won the past seven years, but it doesn't mean we have just gone and blown them out."

This will be Georgia's first game against Georgia Tech first-year coach Paul Johnson.

Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford says no coaching change was necessary to keep the series intense.

"They played us tough two years ago and tough last year too until we kind of pulled away at the end," Stafford said. "Every year they have a great defense and that keeps them in games."


Georgia Tech at Georgia

WHEN: Noon, Saturday

WHERE/TV: Athens, Ga./CBS-Ch. 12



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