ATHENS, Ga. --- If Demarcus Dobbs didn't choose Georgia, he probably would have ended up at Georgia Tech.
Once he arrived in Athens, Dobbs quickly learned just how the Yellow Jackets were viewed in the Bulldogs' locker room.
"If your brother doesn't like somebody then you're not going to like somebody, so it's just that bond that you have with your teammates here," Dobbs said. "You see how bad they want to beat Tech. It just came along that way. It's been good beating them and it hasn't been good losing to them."
Georgia players knew only about beating the Yellow Jackets in each of coach Mark Richt's first seven seasons until last year.
"I didn't realize how big of a rivalry it was until we played it last year and lost," said kicker Blair Walsh, a Florida native. "It's a big deal. It can really change your season no matter which way you look at it. A win against Tech can boost your season that much higher and a loss against Tech can just drop the season that much lower. It's a game you gotta win."
Georgia Tech this decade has usually played the role of the underdog trying to make its season by beating the Bulldogs. Now the roles are reversed.
The Yellow Jackets (10-1) are No. 7 in the BCS and headed to the Atlantic Coast Conference title game and possibly the Orange Bowl.
Georgia (6-5) is still smarting from blowing a 20-6 halftime lead to Kentucky on Saturday in a loss that could leave the Bulldogs in the Independence or Papajohns.com bowl.
"It will brighten a lot of people up if we can get this victory," defensive end Justin Houston said. "Hopefully it will change a lot of people's minds around here and lift up a lot of our teammates because I know that some of them are down right now."
The Bulldogs might be without their top receiver on Saturday.
Coach Mark Richt said sophomore A.J. Green is not yet ready to go full-speed as he recovers from a shoulder injury.
Georgia was without Green and safety Bacarri Rambo for last week's loss to Kentucky. Richt says Green is "less likely" than Rambo to return this week.
Richt said Tuesday he hopes Rambo, who is returning from a concussion, can practice full-speed on Wednesday.
Richt said Green is still working on regaining his strength and range of motion in his left shoulder.
Reach Marc Weiszer at email@example.com.
- Georgia at No. 7 Georgia Tech, 8 p.m. (ABC-Ch. 6)