Long-awaited matchup

♦ Ge­or­gia faces Texas for first time since 1984 in Sugar Bowl

Rome News-Tribune - - SPORTS - By David Brandt AP Sports Writer

The Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off se­lec­tion com­mit­tee has spo­ken: Ge­or­gia is not among the four play­off teams and won’t have a chance to play for the na­tional ti­tle.

Kirby Smart dis­agrees. But the Ge­or­gia coach said he and his team aren’t go­ing to pout about the op­por­tu­nity to play Texas in the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day.

“Look, I’m not cry­ing over spilled milk,” Smart said. “We had our op­por­tu­ni­ties in WKH $ODEDPD JDPH DQG GLG QRW ¿QLVK DQG did not take ad­van­tage of them. I cer­tainly think we’re one of the four best teams in the coun­try, but I also know we’re not in the play­offs and we’ll have an op­por­tu­nity to do that next year.”

Ge­or­gia was oh-so-close to knock­ing off top-ranked Alabama in the South­east­ern Con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship game and earn­ing D VSRW LQ WKH &)3¶V IRXU WHDP ¿HOG

In­stead, the Bull­dogs will set­tle for an in­trigu­ing matchup against the LongKRUQV LQ 1HZ 2UOHDQV ,W¶V WKH ¿UVW WLPH the pow­er­house pro­grams have played since squar­ing off in the Cot­ton Bowl on Jan. 2, 1984.

No. 6 Ge­or­gia (11-2, 7-1 SEC, No. 5 CFP) is led by D’An­dre Swift and Eli­jah Holy¿HOG DQ LPSUHVVLYH WDQGHP RI UXQQLQJ backs who have com­bined for nearly 2,000 yards on the ground this sea­son. The Bull- dogs’ only losses were to LSU dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son, and the 35-28 loss to the Tide on Satur­day.

Smart said he ex­pects his play­ers will bounce back from the emo­tional loss.

“Th­ese kids re­cover faster than you think they do,” Smart said. “Ob­vi­ously, there’s dis­ap­point­ment in last night’s re­sult. But there’s also the op­por­tu­nity to move for­ward with a young team on a na­tional stage with our fans who fol­low us to play in a New Year’s Six bowl game.”

No. 14 Texas (9-4, 7-2, No. 15 CFP) en­joyed a break­out reg­u­lar sea­son and KDV D FKDQFH WR ZLQ JDPHV IRU WKH ¿UVW time since 2009. The Longhorns lost to Ok­la­homa on Satur­day in the Big 12 cham­pi­onship game.

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