NEW ORLEANS — Michael Barnett understands Georgia football has a championship mentality and aims for national titles every year.
But playing in the Sugar Bowl, Barnett said, is nothing for Bulldogs’ fans to take lightly, and he’ll always remember it as the last game of his career.
“The TaxSlayer Bowl and the Memphis Liberty Bowl are different from the Sugar Bowl,” Barnett said on Monday.
“You can’t really please everybody. At the end of the day, we know what we’ve accomplished, and we know how good it is and how hard it is to be an 11-2 team, being among the top teams in the country.”
Indeed, Barnett was asked by New Orleans media about Georgia’s dominance in all of its rivalry games, riding simultaneous three-game win streaks against Florida, Tennessee, Auburn and Georgia Tech.
It’s something no other Georgia outgoing senior class can claim, and with a win over Baylor, the Bulldogs’ outgoing seniors would tie the program record with 44 wins.
“Yeah, things went wrong and we’re not in the playoff, but we’re really focusing on literally us and winning this Sugar Bowl right now, because we fell short last year,” Barnett said.
Last year’s 28-21 loss o Texas in the Sugar Bowl was a lesson, Barnett said, that the Bulldogs’ players should learn from.
“I feel like we were focusing so much on the outside of not being where everybody else was, competing for a natty (national championship),” Barnett said. “I feel like this year, we’re doing a good job of staying here and really focusing on us.”
Barnett indicated Georgia’s inability to go undefeated in the regular season — the Bulldogs have gone 11-1 three straight seasons — is a byproduct of playing in a challenging league.
“In the SEC, on any given Saturday, you are bound to win or lose if you don’t go out there and execute at a high clip,” Barnett said. “If you think you’re going to walk over somebody, that’s when you get complacent, so you have to accept pressure is a privilege.”