I’ll say it again, because it bears repeating: Georgia could lose tomorrow, but it won’t be because the Dawgs don’t show up.
“We do try to take every game serious around here, but you know this one, it’s the end of the year,” coach Mark Richt said. “It is a rival game. It does get our blood pumping and if you show up with the right mental attitude, you got a better chance.”
… The message has come through loud and clear during coach Richt’s 13 seasons.
“I learned quickly about the rivalry,” senior inside linebacker Ramik Wilson, a Tampa native said. “We’ve been handling business as long as I’ve been here so we’re going to keep that tradition going.”
… That’s something that even somebody who hasn’t played in the game knew before the week began.
“It’s Georgia Tech,” Bulldogs freshman tailback Nick Chubb said. “We’re going to get their all and they’re going to get our all.”
But that’s only part of it. The genius sounds like a guy who thinks he’s playing with house money.
Johnson heard about it on his Monday night radio show this week from a caller named Clark: “My question is one thing: When are we going to beat Georgia because it’s been a while.”
A day later, Johnson said this about the rivalry: “We get it that’s an important game. I also get it that it’s not going to destroy the year or make the year if you win or lose the game. It’s one game. They’re not in our league. …Nobody wants to have to take crap at the water cooler. That’s the bottom line. You want to have bragging rights. If you beat Florida State in the ACC championship game, odds are you don’t want to run into their alumni every day.”
… Georgia Tech already has exceeded expectations. It was picked to finish fifth in the ACC Coastal Division but was presented its division title trophy this week in practice.
That’s why Johnson doesn’t make this game the end all and be all.
“I’m not going to let it define our program if we don’t go to Athens and win a game,” Johnson said.
And that’s why I’m not going to worry about whether the results of today’s Arkansas-Missouri game might affect Georgia’s mindset tomorrow. Because Paul Johnson doesn’t deserve to win that game.