Bulldogs have early practice before BCS picture clears
ATHENS — For the first time in his seven years at Georgia, Mark Richt conducted his first bowl practice Thursday before learning where his No. 4 Bulldogs will play in a bowl.
The light workout was a good way to keep the players thinking of football during their first open week after completing their 10-2 regular season with last Saturday’s 31-17 win over Georgia Tech.
It also was a good way to work off some nervous energy as the Bulldogs wait to learn Sunday if they’ll be invited to the Orange, Fiesta or Rose bowls or possibly even have a chance to play in the national championship game.
The Bulldogs’ national championship hopes rest on No. 9 Oklahoma beating No. 1 Missouri and Pittsburgh beating No. 2 West Virginia on Saturday. It might also help Georgia if No. 14 Tennessee upsets No. 5 Louisiana State in Saturday’s Southeastern Conference championship game in Atlanta.
There is speculation LSU could pass Georgia in the Top 25 if it claims an impressive victory over Tennessee. If Georgia falls one spot to No. 5 in the BCS standings on Sunday, it wouldn’t be assured of a spot in a BCS bowl.
Richt said he’s curious to see how Saturday’s games end, but he won’t watch all the games.
“It would be really fun to watch if we really knew what would happen,” Richt said.
“The reality is we can watch all the football we want on Saturday and we still won’t know the answer until they make
decisions on Sunday.”
Richt has said he would enjoy making his first visit to the Rose Bowl, and has participated in the Orange and Fiesta bowls.
“I want to be sure everyone understands me, I know I will be excited about any opportunity given to us,” Richt said. “It’s just exciting to think about all the possibilities, and I know our players are the same way.
“I do believe all the bowl experiences are going to be awesome. I did say I’ve never been to the Rose. That was made to be a bigger deal that it probably should have been. I guarantee I’d have a good time in the Orange or Fiesta or wherever.”
The players just know to expect a New Year’s Day bowl as a reward for a 10-2 season.
Richt acknowledged he was reluctant to schedule practices for Thursday and another prac- tice for next week.
In past years he has had players involved in only running and weight-room workouts before the formal bowl practice schedule in midDecember, though he said he’s always heard of other coaches opting for earlier starts.
“Other teams have done it,” Richt said. “It’s been brought up to me every year since I’ve been here. I didn’t see a reason to do it.”