Bulldogs will roll past GT Jackets

By Brian Howard

There is no doubt that when Georgia meets Georgia Tech in the 100th meeting Saturday night that the Bulldogs will walk away from Bobby Dodd Stadium a winner.

Georgia is coming off a rout of Kentucky last Saturday, and clinched a spot in the SEC title game by winning the SEC East.

Surprise, surprise, surprise.

This Bulldogs team surpassed all expectations to this point.

Remember who played quarterback last season? David Greene and yet Georgia didn't have this good of a run. It has been the play of former North Clayton High School standout D.J. Shockley that has gotten the Bulldogs to this point.

Take into consideration, Georgia, ranked as high as No. 4 in the country, lost for the first time during the season to rival Florida by four points, 14-10. In that game, the Bulldogs were without Shockley.

Two weeks later and a healthy Shockley in the lineup, Georgia had Auburn on the ropes. If not for poor playing calling on the defensive side of the football, the Bulldogs would have one loss, but Georgia fell to the Tigers, setting up last weekend's key matchup against Kentucky.

Actually, the game was over before it ever started as the Bulldogs pounced all over the Wildcats, 45-13.

The SEC East could have been considered a stumbling block all year. Georgia may have won the division, but look at how the rest finished: South Carolina (5-3), Florida (5-3), Vanderbilt (3-5), Kentucky (2-5) and Tennessee (2-5).

South Carolina was certainly the most improved team in the East after knocking off teams like Florida and Tennessee this season. But the Gamecocks still couldn't beat Clemson.

South Carolina, Florida and Vanderbilt share one thing with Georgia - a trip to a bowl game. Meanwhile, left out of the bowl picture and I am nearly laughing as I am writing this - Tennessee.

I guess the fire Phillip Fulmer Web sites can officially begin now. I guess Steve Spurrier said it best, "You can't spell Citrus without UT." In this case, Fulmer and Tennessee can't spell bowl either.

This Saturday Georgia and Georgia Tech will meet, with the Bulldogs owning the series (56-38-5).

The Yellow Jackets opened the season with a key road win at Auburn. Sure things looked bright, but even their fans had concerns. Georgia Tech hadn't put together back-to-back wins after a huge victory over a ranked team in God only knows how long.

After the win against the Tigers, Georgia Tech got victories against North Carolina and Connecticut.

Georgia Tech gained respect last Saturday when the Yellow Jackets finally knocked off a Top 5 team, beating Miami in the Orange Bowl. That kind of success is why Georgia Tech gave head coach Chan Gailey a contract extension.

Yet Athletic Director Dave Braine was quick to point out that Georgia Tech isn't the type of school that will win nine or 10 games a year. It amazes me that he is still running the athletic program with a comment like that.

Only twice in its 114 years of football has Georgia Tech defeated a team ranked higher than the Hurricanes. In 1990, the Yellow Jackets beat No. 1 Virginia and in 1962, Georgia Tech downed No. 1 Alabama.

Even Bulldogs coach Mark Richt is a bit concerned about Georgia Tech.

"I saw a good bit of the game, if not all of it," Richt said during his weekly press conference. "Georgia Tech got with it and frustrated Miami's offense. They really controlled the game overall.”

Last season, Georgia beat Georgia Tech, 19-13, and you can only count on another close one when these two teams tangle again Saturday.

(Brian Howard is a sports writer at The Daily. He can be reached at: bhoward@news-daily.com )