South Carolina loss boosts Georgia’s chances in East
7:27 pm October 14, 2012, by Tim Tucker
Georgia’s hopes of reaching the SEC Championship game despite its ugly loss at South Carolina got a boost Saturday night when the Gamecocks followed their domination of the Bulldogs with a loss at LSU.
South Carolina’s 23-21 loss, one week after its 35-7 rout of Georgia, means UGA will represent the Eastern Division in the SEC title game if:
South Carolina loses at least one of its three remaining SEC games, the most difficult of which is this week at Florida.
And Georgia beats its four remaining SEC opponents, including — most challengingly — Florida.
Those are big ifs, of course.
“Right now, I think the best thing for Georgia is to focus on getting better, focus on (this week’s opponent) Kentucky,” UGA coach Mark Richt said Sunday. “It’s kind of a boring answer, as always, but it’s really what we’ve got to do.
“We’ve got some things we’ve got to clean up. We’ve been giving up too many big plays. We’ve got to make sure we get back to running the ball like we (were) early in the year. … We need to get more turnovers. We need to protect the ball a little better. We’ve still got things to clean up in some of our special-teams areas.
“We want to finish strong, and if we can keep improving as we go, we’ve got a chance to have some fun in the end here. But we’ve got a ways to go.”
This past weekend’s results — South Carolina’s loss, Florida’s victory at Vanderbilt and Georgia’s bye — left the Gators (6-0, 5-0 SEC) alone in first place in the SEC East. South Carolina (6-1, 4-1) and Georgia (5-1, 3-1) are even in the loss column. All other East teams have at least three league losses.
Because of its loss to South Carolina, Georgia would lose a tiebreaker with the Gamecocks; that’s why Georgia needs them to lose again. If Florida beats South Carolina on Saturday in Gainesville but loses to Georgia on Oct. 27 in Jacksonville, that would leave the Gators and Bulldogs with one SEC loss each (provided UGA beats Kentucky) and the Dogs with the tiebreaker advantage over Florida.
Richt took advantage of Georgia’s open date to watch his son play quarterback for Mars Hill (N.C.) College. Jon Richt set school single-game records for passing attempts (52), completions (33) and passing yards (370) as Mars Hill defeated Catawba 35-28. “I guess I can be a dad who can brag a little bit, but Jon played well,” Richt said. “It was the last time I’ll probably ever get to see him play college ball in person, so it was a treat for me and the family.” … Georgia’s 7 p.m. Saturday game at Kentucky (1-6, 0-4) will be televised on FSN, it was announced Sunday. … Georgia inched up one spot to No. 13 in this week’s Associated Press media poll and remained No. 12 in the USA Today coaches’ poll.