Georgia will be primed for its first road game of the season at South Carolina on Saturday. Sean Rayford AP Photos

Why No. 1-ranked Georgia doesn’t need wake-up call for South Carolina game

ATHENS — Georgia lost to South Carolina the last time these teams had a noon kickoff, but there’s no reason to think these Bulldogs need a wake-up call.

Georgia regained the No. 1 ranking in the AP Top 25, leading the nation in scoring defense and ranked second in passing yardage per game.

The Bulldogs are no doubt one of the more popular talking points in the SEC, even after Alabama’s narrow win at Texas and Texas A&M’s shocking loss at the hands of Appalachian State.

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Georgia is a heavy favorite to keep its momentum going even if it will require his players to arise earlier than normal on a Saturday morning.

Coach Kirby Smart has solved any issues he may have had with noon kicks early in his tenure at UGA having won five straight SEC noon kicks after losing three of his first five early kicks.

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The fact this road game is a noon start (ESPN) actually works in the Bulldogs’ favor, according to former Tennessee head coach and Georgia and Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt.

“As a coach, when you went on the road in the SEC, if you drew a noon kickoff, it was to me the visitors’ advantage,” said Pruitt, who won national titles as the defensive coordinator at Alabama and Florida State and won eight straight games at one point as the Vols’ head coach.

“It takes a long time for the home crowd to get involved,” he said. “It doesn’t matter where you go in the SEC, if it’s 330 or later, the home crowd is gonna be in it.

“I think Georgia has caught a break on this; South Carolina can be tough at night, but not so much at noon.”

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Besides, Pruitt pointed out, the Bulldogs’ experience on offense behind 24-year-old, sixth-year QB Stetson Bennett should cancel out any noise factor.

“If you look at Georgia offensively, that’s where their veteran group is,” Pruitt said. “They should be fine on that side of the ball.”

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