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Georgia will play the first of two-straight games in Atlanta Saturday.

UGA won’t allow looming SEC championship game to take focus off Georgia Tech

Brandon Adams

Georgia football fans are celebrating UGA’s third-consecutive trip to the SEC championship game, and DawgNation is providing unparalleled coverage each day on video in a series called Road to Atlanta — presented by Kroger. Each day host Brandon Adams will cover all the latest news and key storylines as the Bulldogs prepare for LSU. The latest edition of Road to Atlanta addresses how UGA is working to avoid allowing the SEC championship game to become a distraction for its regular season finale vs. its in-state rival Georgia Tech.

UGA won’t allow looming SEC championship game to take focus off Georgia Tech

Georgia will play the first of at least two-straight games in Atlanta Saturday when it travels to face its in-state rival Georgia Tech. The stakes for the two games couldn’t be more different.

UGA’s opponent in the SEC championship game next Saturday is LSU — one of the top four teams in the country — and with a win, the Bulldogs will almost certainly earn a berth into the College Football Playoff. This Saturday, UGA takes on Georgia Tech — a team with just three wins all season.

However, UGA coach Kirby Smart says his team won’t look past the Yellow Jackets Saturday, nor will it disregard Georgia Tech due to its dismal record.

“I don’t think you have to worry about that,” Smart said. “We don’t look at the record. We look at the team on the tape. That’s more important than the record. We’re not scoreboard watching. We’re not record watching. We’re looking at the guy across from us. We’re really… as simple as it sounds… trying to take the next step, and that’s Georgia Tech.”

Smart’s sentiment is easy to believe, and the Bulldogs have a history of showing they’re able to maintain a week-to-week focus. Yet on this edition of Road to Atlanta (video linked below) former UGA All-American Jon Stinchcomb explains that no matter what is said about not looking ahead to a seemingly bigger game, the temptation still exists to do just that.

Stinchcomb also says that ultimately the focus on game days is typically where it needs to be — including for Stinchcomb’s 2002 team, which was the first UGA team to clinch the SEC East and went on to beat the Yellow Jackets 51-7. Stinchomb explains that the motivation is fueled by the fact that the game, known as “Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate,” is a legitimate rivalry that generates strong feelings for the players and coaches involved.

UGA fans certainly hope that’s true.

It’s undeniable that next week is a bigger game for UGA, but that doesn’t mean this week’s game isn’t important. Bulldogs players and fans love the bragging rights that come from being able to say “We run this state.” And on Saturday, they’ll hope to be able to say that again.

For more on what Stinchcomb said about the SEC championship game and Georgia Tech, click the video linked below.