ATHENS — Georgia has opened as a 7 1/2-point favorite over Baylor in the AllState Sugar Bowl Game, according to VegasInsider.com.
The No. 5-ranked Bulldogs (11-2) and No. 7 Bears (11-2) are both coming off losses in their respective conference championship games.
Georgia got manhandled by No. 1-ranked LSU, falling 37-10 in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Saturday.
Baylor, meanwhile, lost its rematch with No. 4 Oklahoma in overtime, falling 30-23 to the Sooners at .
The Bulldogs could be without some marquee players in the Sugar Bowl.
Junior tailback D’Andre Swift has been dealing with an injured shoulder that led him to a limited role against LSU.
Swift, who has indicated he will declare himself eligible for the upcoming NFL draft, had just two carries and three catches, none after the first series of the third quarter.
Georgia junior offensive tackle Andrew Thomas is widely projected as a Top 10 pick, but Thomas seemed to leave the door open to playing following Saturday night’s loss in Atlanta.
Smart said he learned last season to only bring the players to the bowl site who are “engaged” and want to be there.
“Bottom line is, it’s your job to go play in a football game, and you get a great opportunity,” Smart said on the Sunday night Sugar Bowl teleconference.
“There’s a lot of teams all across the country that would be dying to play in a game like this, he said. “We’re gonna sell it that way. It’s a once in lifetime opportunity to be Sugar Bowl champs.
“We’re going to take the ones that want to do that and want to play well.”
The Bulldogs will also be without two of their top three receivers, both sidelined by injuries.
Graduate transfer Lawrence Cager underwent ankle surgery on Nov. 29 and is in the early stages of recovery.
Freshman Dominick Blaylock suffered a torn ACL in the first half of the SEC Championship Game and will be aiming for the start of fall drills.
Smart is also dealing with a coaching vacancy, with celebrated offensive line coach Sam Pittman taking the Arkansas head coaching job on Sunday night.
SEC bowl games
Dec. 27, Academy Spors & Outdoors Texas Bowl, Houston
Texas A&M -5 over Oklahoma State
Dec. 28, Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, CFP Playoff Semifinal, Atlanta
LSU -13 over Oklahoma
Dec. 30, Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, Nashville
Mississippi State vs. Louisville, no line yet
Dec. 30, Capital One Orange Bowl, Miami
Florida – 13 1/2 over Virginia
Dec. 31, Belk Bowl, Charlotte
Kentucky vs. Virginia Tech, no line yet
Jan. 1, Outback Bowl, Tampa
Auburn – 7 1/2 over Minnesota
Jan. 1 VRBO Citrus Bowl, Orlando
Alabama -7 over Michigan
Jan. 1 All State Sugar Bowl, New Orleans
Georgia -7 1/2 over Baylor
Jan. 2 TaxSlayer Gator Bowl, Jacksonville
Tennessee vs. Indiana, no line yet