Georgia football-2022 SEC championship game-homefield
090322 Atlanta, Ga.: Georgia Bulldogs defensive back Malaki Starks (24) celebrates his interception with defensive lineman Tyrion Ingram-Dawkins (93) during the first half of their game against the Oregon Ducks at Mercedes Benz Stadium, Saturday, September 3, 2022, in Atlanta. Starks lead Georgia with tackles with eight and had an interception in the first half. Georgia won 49-3. (Jason Getz /

Georgia football expects 2022 SEC Championship Game to feel like a home game: ‘We do treat it like a home field’

ATHENS — By this point, Georgia is quite comfortable playing in Atlanta. The Bulldogs have played at least one game there every season since Kirby Smart took over at the start of the 2016.

Saturday will be the second time this year the Bulldogs play in Mercedes-Benz Stadium as the Bulldogs beat Oregon 49-3 there earlier this season.

Georgia is hoping for a similar result this weekend when the Bulldogs take on LSU. The Bulldogs will certainly have more fans at the game, given the proximity to Athens and with the game being in Georgia’s home state.

And players feel all that gives Georgia an advantage.

“We always treat Atlanta like it’s our backyard, like we’re down the road in Sanford,” defensive lineman Zion Logue said. “We do treat it like a home-field advantage. Going off of playing Oregon earlier this year and how many other countless times we’ve played there in the past, just try to use that to our advantage.”

Related: Georgia football will hold No. 1 ranking heading into final College Football Playoff rankings

Georgia has some painful memories in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, losing three times in the SEC championship game as well as the 2018 National Championship Game against Alabama.

Those past results certainly motivate this Georgia team. There is also the fact that a win this week possibly puts Georgia in a position where its first playoff game will also be in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, as it is one of two host sites for the College Football Playoff semifinals this year.

Georgia players have said they’re not focused on that aspect of the game this weekend. Instead, the Bulldogs want to beat LSU because it is the next game up.

“We take a lot of pride in playing there,” defensive back Javon Bullard said. “This is the University of Georgia, so we feel that this is our state. We played there earlier this year and last season, so it means a lot to us, and we want to make sure we can go out there and be victorious in this game.”

While players have been quick to point out the familiarity of being back in Atlanta, Kirby Smart didn’t express quite the same level of optimism in terms of a boost. The Georgia coach completely downplayed the idea that Georgia gets some extra benefit come the College Football Playoff of playing in Atlanta.

“The only thing you can say is the travel and the time spent, but that only really matters to me on a short week, which is a seven-day turnaround,” Smart said. “When you have the extension of nine to ten days, it’s probably overrated because you’re going to get more travel times.”

Georgia very much wants to take care of LSU first, before even thinking about possible playoff matchups or advantages. Georgia is comfortable playing in Atlanta and knows it will have to play well for its many fans in attendance.

Of course, Georgia also had a fan advantage when it played LSU in the 2019 SEC Championship game. That was a game the Tigers won 37-10.

When you play in the conference that we both play in, there’s been no shortage of big games for either team,” Smart said. “Do I think experience matters? Yes. Big-game experience matters? Yes. Do both these teams have it? Yes. Playing SEC championship games before, I don’t know that that experience...A big game is a big game.”

Javon Bullard shares importance of playing in Atlanta

NextGeorgia football unbothered by potential College Football Playoff …
Leave a Comment