UGA's ranking 1st in East but by no means is on lockdown

Bryce Ros

**Since Atlanta United is no longer in competition for the remainder of the season, some inaccuracies were said during the broadcasts of some of the college football games this weekend that need to be discussed. Although UGA did lose to South Carolina that in no way means that UGA is out of the playoff stances. With the hard-fought win against Florida this past weekend UGA certainly sits in the driver’s seat for the SEC East. However, when Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson opine that the spot is essentially locked for UGA, they could not be more dead wrong.

Firstly UGA must still play 3 conference opponents. One of which being “The Oldest Rivalry in the South”, against Auburn University. The Tigers have always played the Bulldogs tough whether at home or Jordan-Hare, and the game will certainly not be a pushover. When fans think back to the tipped pass that ended up winning the game for Auburn in the last seconds it can remind them that anything can happen in that game. To boot, Auburn is not looking too bad at all so far this season. Although they may have 2 losses and be outside of the Top 10 in the CFB rankings, this means very little when it comes to the actual game.

LSU narrowly escaped a loss against the Tigers in the Bayou which is unquestionably one of the hardest places to play in the entire country. If you ever see a former UGA football player, ask him what the hardest stadiums to play in are? It’s a safe bet that LSU is near the top for many. Walking on the field you can (and this is not an exaggeration) smell the booze out on the field. The fans are right on top of the sideline and can throw things at the opposing team's players. That deserves a small side note: My father told me a story growing up about his 2nd or 3rd year with the Bulldogs when they played LSU in Baton Rouge. The fans were throwing full-size dog bones at the players, hitting some of them, and REALLY pissing one-off. However, that’s a story for another day. Clyde Edwards-Helaire rushed for over 120 yards against Auburn, adding a TD to the mix. His performance was sublime that game, and it was a pleasure to watch.

This weekend it seems that there is nothing but the hype over the LSU vs. Alabama game coming up this weekend. They are ahead of Alabama in the rankings, and it will surely be a great game. Yet continuously the commentators are speaking of “locks” on the Eastern Division. Even though UGA has not only to play Auburn, but also Missouri, and Texas A&M at home. Auburn will be no walk in the park for the Bulldogs, nor will any of the other opponents SEC and ACC that must be beaten before anyone even talks about the showdown in Atlanta for the SEC Championship.

There are certainly high hopes going into the game after the Florida vs UGA performance. It was quite a performance by both sides of the UGA team, converting more 3rd downs than attempts that Florida had to make a conversion on 3rd down. The defense kept the offense on the field, wearing the high powered fast defense of Florida to gas out before the end of the game. Jake Fromm coming in clutch with that last-second pass was one of the greatest accomplishments in his career. To anyone who has ever watched someone throw a ball off their back foot like that and put it right on the money was impressive. DeAndre Swift also ended up doing pretty well all things considered. Although UGA was stonewalled in the running game in the 1st half, the backfield came alive in the 2nd half.

The caution here is that UGA fans cannot get too overenthusiastic about our current positioning. Truly some of the hardest games on the schedule are still in front of them. Dog fans should believe in their team, but make no mistake there is still a long road ahead, and it will not be an easy one.**