“There are still things that are worth playing for.”

Don’t laugh as you read this – this year’s Cap One Bowl is a big game for Georgia.  Lose to Nebraska and all that momentum that’s been building since the Cocktail Party – even through the SECCG loss – dissipates like a fart in the wind.

On paper, Georgia is the better team.  But as we’ve seen with this program, paper isn’t what bowl games are won on.  They’re won on being the more motivated squad.  That’s Mark Richt’s Job One over the next three weeks.  The good news is that he sounds aware of it.

“I will be challenging our leadership to finish better than we did a year ago and to solidify the job that they’ve done, because I think they’ve done an outstanding job to this point. I think they need to put an exclamation point on it or at least finish strong in a manner worthy of the way they led the entire offseason from January until now. That will be a big part of it.”

The Alabama game was both a blessing and a curse.  It let these players and coaches know that the program once again had the mental and emotional backbone to stand up and play an Alabama group that’s been the class of college football over the past four years to a virtual dead heat.  But the way that game ended had to take some wind out of their sales sails. Somehow, they’ve all got to find a way to put the disappointment behind them – easier said than done, I know – and recognize what they’ve got left to play for in the bowl game.

Win it, and win it convincingly, and you can point to yourself as a legitimate, elite program.  You’re back.  In that sense, it’s the bookend to the 2006 Sugar Bowl loss, when we first started getting a real vibe that there was slippage under Richt.  Lose this game, or even win a sloppy struggle and that message is muddied at best and disregarded at worst.

“Me, personally, I just want to win a bowl game,” Murray said with a laugh. “I haven’t won one as a starter, so I know I’m going to be working extremely hard to win this game. And this senior class has just meant so much for this program, for bringing us back to where Georgia needs to be. I know myself and all the other underclassmen want to send them off on the right note.”

Said senior linebacker Christian Robinson: “Yeah, we were five yards away from being somewhere else. But let’s not show that we’re not worthy of it by not finishing.”

It’s a big game.

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33 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

33 responses to ““There are still things that are worth playing for.”

  1. section Z alum

    may i make the annoying observation that wind fills sails?
    signed –
    nerd

    • Thanks for catching that. $)@*$&%)^! WP spell check….

      • section Z alum

        old English prof in Athens tells a story about a paper turned in by a female student that referred not to the “threat,” but to the “treat of castration.”
        Freudtastic

        • Slaw Dawg

          I once very nearly filed a “Trail Brief” early in my legal career. Fortunately, an alert senior colleague caught it. Unfortunately, he was a Vol and could not pass up the opportunity to reflect on edu-ma-cation at his school vs mine.

        • Cosmic Dawg

          There was a poem in the bathroom at Park Hall once with a grammar mistake.

          The grammar was corrected in a different color and the snarky comment “poem by Gary Grammar”.
          Below that a third person wrote, “Correction by Richard Righteous”.

          It was probably funny only in person, bit the real funny was that all the graffiti in Park Hall bathrooms (The English Dept for you visitors) got corrected.

  2. Rusty

    Dang right it’s a big game

  3. Gravidy

    I’m probably overstating things here, but this is a big game if they lose. I’m not sure how big it is if they win. Or maybe I should stay away from the “big or not big” discussion and just say there’s more to be lost than gained.

    That’s not a bad thing, mind you. It just means the team is in relatively good shape entering the game (top five-ish, depending on what poll you’re looking at). Nebraska, on the other hand, has a lot to gain by beating UGA.

    • Bevo

      I agree with this. Sometimes big games are big because of what you have to lose moreso than what you have to gain.

      We had a lot to gain vs Bama. We have a lot to lose against the Huskers.

  4. SCarolinaDawg

    “I know myself and all the other underclassmen want to send them off on the right note.”

    That sounds like Murray is coming back.

  5. Uglydawg

    I would love to see these Dawgs come out and play “lights out” like they did against Bama. I would love to see the reserves getting some playing time. I would love to hear another team leader challange everyone who’s eligable to come back next year. I’m excited because I do believe this bowl game will be approached with a much better attitude and level of preperation than we’ve seen in the recent past.

  6. Chance

    Christian Robinson’s comment sums it up perfectly. I hope like heck they come out fired up and steam roll Nebraska.

  7. cube

    I think we should claim a national championship if we win. You know…like Tech did when they also went to the Citrus/Cap One Bowl and beat a 3-loss Nebraska team that was ranked in the teens.

  8. UGA70

    This will be one to not overlook. I’m sure you all read that Wisconsin scored 70 points and rushed for 539 yards against Nebraska in the BI0 Championship Game. But when they played each other in the regular season game, Nebraska held Wisconsin to just 57 yards rushing. I do not know what happened from the beginning of season to more recently, but with Pelini having several weeks to adjust his defense, we definitely do not need to be overconfident.

    • Macallanlover

      Particularly since I cannot remember the last time we had the OL Wisconsin has. Our offense will put up points because we are so “spread” it is hard to defend everything/everyone but we do not blow anyone back in our running game. Wisky did and put a man sized whipping on the Children of the Corn. Pellini will run right at our defense after watching the Bama tape, they don’t have that type of talent but we sure did get exposed. It has been my #1 concern about the 3-4 all along. I believe we can handle their running attack, but I expect the game to be a trench war in the first half at least.

      • D.N. nation

        Wisconsin’s OL wasn’t that good this year.

        • Macallanlover

          Honestly didn’t see them play more than a few plays this season but I will bet they were much better than us at run blocking. No Wisky offense couldn’t put up 70 on the Nebraska defense otherwise, even with turnovers. I want us to follow their OL recruiter around for months.

  9. charlottedawg

    I’m pretty sure this game is going to be another chapter in the “Murray can’t beat ranked teams” meme, because either we A) show up flat and get upset or more likely B) absolutely curb stomp the Huskers dropping them out of the top 25.

  10. Jrod1229

    I’m just happy to read about UGA football.. and not the impending doom of college football.

  11. Go Dawgs!

    This is a game against a name-brand blueblood college football program with a great fanbase and a long and storied history. This is one of those games where we’ll get great close-up pictures of the line of scrimmage with the red and black “G” helmet lined up across from the iconic white and red “N” helmet. Some of that might matter to our players, some of it probably doesn’t, but yes, this is a big game.

    The bottom line is that we get to find out if anyone in that locker room has woken up to the simple truth that we can’t just show up and expect to win football games. When we sniff ourselves instead of practicing and arriving determined, we get beaten by: Colorado, UCF, Boise State, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Arkansas, West Virginia, Mississippi State, Michigan State, and the list goes on. It has been BEATEN. INTO. OUR. THICK. SKULLS. It’s time to stop even having this discussion of whether we’re too bored by a bowl matchup or a regular season matchup or anything else. Want to put Georgia back where it belongs, guys? This is the game you do it in. You’re leaving a mark on the program. What kind of mark will it be?

  12. UGA76

    Who the hell knows anymore. We haven’t won a fucking bowl game in two years. Good Lord we couldn’t even beat UCF for crying out loud. We’ll prolly lose another Bowl game. It’s just plain disgusting.

  13. Russ

    All I know is we owe Nebraska a whipping worse than the 45-6 beating they gave us in the Sun Bowl.

  14. Always Someone Else's Fault

    Teams that can spread out Nebraska’s defense roll them. Teams with an athlete or two who can hunt down Martinez shut them down. Dawgs are a match-up nightmare for the Huskers. Big game, and it won’t be 70, but it also won’t be close – if the team prepares and plays with focus. Big if. Alabama lost a game like SECCG to Florida and lost to Utah. Florida lost the next year and took it out on Cincinnati. You never know.

  15. sniffer

    Richt is loyal, to a fault. If he senses the seniors and likely NFL-bound juniors are disengaged or apathetic, I hope he calls them out, sits them until they focus. If they don’t, leave ‘em home and play the kids.

    Mark Richts’ future is now. I don’t think its an overstatement to say his legacy can be, in great measure, determined by this next game. Win with them, win without them, but for Pete’s sake, don’t lose with them!

  16. Greg

    South Carolina beat Nebraska in this bowl last year and they’ve beaten us 3 in a row. I sure don’t consider them a ” legitimate, elite program” so I don’t see how winning this game should have any bearing on us being at that level. If we were playing a top 10 team, maybe I’d but that. Murray’s record against ranked team doesn’t become invalid just because we played Bama close and neat a Nebraska team that is barely in the top 25 despite playing in an awful conference.

  17. Watchman

    It’s a very big game. I would point to the Bama-Michigan State game after what was a largely disappointing 2010 season (although the list of programs that wouldn’t consider 10-3 a down year is pretty short). The bowl annihiliation of what was thought to be at least a competent Spartan team carried over to the next year. If you go out and smash Nebraska, and based on talent I see no reason that shouldn’t happen, it will stand you in good stead for 2013,

  18. Georgia Southern ESPN2 8PM Friday. Frisco bound.

    • Russ

      Wow, I quit watching when OD continued to pass right over them to start the second half. I figured it was over. Good on GSU.

  19. Uglydawg

    Best of luck to GA Southern! Make us proud as the best tripop team in the country! But I can’t watch because I am going to my granddaughters play in Newnan. Maybe I can catch the second half.