Georgia football-LSU-2022 SEC Championship game
November 26, 2022 Athens - Georgia's running back Kenny McIntosh (6) runs for a long first down during the second half in an NCAA football game at Sanford Stadium in Athens on Saturday, November 26, 2022. Georgia won 37-14 over Georgia Tech. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Georgia football eager for 2022 SEC Championship Game: ‘I’ve been wanting to play LSU again’

ATHENS — The normally muddy College Football Playoff picture looks relatively clear following Saturday’s results.

Georgia though will care little about what happened around the sport or who the Bulldogs could potentially see in the College Football Playoff semifinals.

Instead, Georgia is eager to play in the SEC championship game and take on LSU.

“We didn’t come to this season trying to go 12-0. We tried to go 15-0,” quarterback Stetson Bennett said. “We got another step ahead of us next week in Atlanta against a really good football team in LSU.”

Related: Senior day quotes by Stetson Bennett show just how far the Georgia football program has come

The Tigers entered the weekend as the No. 5 team in the country. They will not be ranked that high after losing 38-23 to Texas A&M on Saturday.

LSU was not the only top-10 team to fall on Saturday, as Ohio State, Clemson and Oregon also lost. Michigan and TCU came away with wins, as those two along with Georgia enter championship weekend with unbeaten records.

As for who might be the No. 4 seed, USC put forth an impressive performance against Notre Dame. Should the Trojans beat Utah, the only team to beat USC this season, the Trojans will likely lock up the final playoff berth.

The Bulldogs though are much more focused on the task at hand. It’s the second-straight season Georgia enters championship weekend with an unbeaten record.

But last season saw the Bulldogs falter against Alabama and have to sweat out selection Sunday. It’s been a common talking point this season to mention how the 2022 Georgia team can accomplish something the 2021 team did not by winning the conference title.

The win on Saturday against Georgia Tech didn’t have head coach Kirby Smart in an overly celebratory mood. There is still work to be done as he — along with his team — were eager to dive into prepping for LSU.

“I’m looking forward to watching our guys prepare for LSU,” Smart said. “They’re a really good, hot football team.”

Once before under Smart has Georgia faced LSU in the SEC championship. That came back in 2019, when many of the current seniors were freshmen. The Bulldogs got pummeled that day by Joe Burrow, Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase, losing 37-10.

The Georgia seniors still carry around the scar tissue from that game, knowing an SEC championship is just about the only thing this group hasn’t put in the Georgia trophy case. The Bulldogs lost to Alabama in last year’s edition of this game.

LSU is also one of just two SEC teams the Bulldogs have not beaten since Smart took over back in 2016.

“I’ve been wanting to play LSU again,” running back Kenny McIntosh said. “They got a good team over there and we got a good team. I want to play hard and physical. It means a lot because we’re back at this moment again. We’ve got another opportunity to rewrite history. We want to take full advantage of that opportunity.”

Related: Kenny McIntosh gets emotional when discussing monster senior day performance for Georgia football

Georgia is likely to be the No. 1 ranked team in the College Football Playoff rankings that come out on Tuesday. That has been the case for the past three weeks, ever since the Bulldogs pummeled the Tennessee Volunteers.

A win against LSU would likely give Georgia the No. 1 ranking in the final College Football Playoff rankings, the one that actually matter. It would also give Georgia first pick as to where it plays, which would almost certainly be the Peach Bowl.

The same spot where Georgia takes on LSU this coming weekend.

“I don’t need the College Football Playoff committee or any person to tell me what the SEC’s like,” Smart said. “Look, I was born and raised in this, and I know how good it is. I know how physical it is. I know how hard it is to play in this league. Week in and week out, it’s tough and physical.”

Georgia coach Kirby Smart on the College Football Playoff, SEC championship game

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