ATHENS, Ga. - For the first time since 1969, the Georgia Bulldogs are opening a football season with three of their first five games away from Sanford Stadium.
The third of those trips takes place Oct. 2 to Colorado, a state in which Georgia never has played. Before that lengthy flight, however, the Bulldogs must visit South Carolina on Sept. 11 and Mississippi State on Sept. 25.
Junior receiver A.J. Green entered preseason camp as Georgia's only returning starter from the Palmetto State, and he hears about the Gamecocks whenever he travels home to Summerville.
"That's every year, and you just can't let it get to you," Green said. "It's just another game for me, but it would be nice to win. We would be 3-0 against them if we could win this one, so I could have some more bragging rights."
Other Bulldogs from South Carolina expected to contribute this season include redshirt freshman noseguard Kwame Geathers, whose older brother Clifton played for the Gamecocks, and junior safety Jakar Hamilton, who played last season at Georgia Military College.
Georgia dominates the series, 46-14-2, and the Bulldogs haven't lost in Columbia since 2000. The game will have a noon kickoff.
"It might be 108 or 110 out there," Green said. "It's going to be hot."
No Bulldogs player wants the game at Mississippi State more than senior tackle Josh Davis, who is the only Magnolia State product on Georgia's roster. Davis played at Tylertown High School, which is more than an hour south of Jackson and more than five hours from Starkville.
Mississippi State signed Tylertown's quarterback, Jameon Lewis, this past winter.
"I'll be playing against him, and both of our families will be there," Davis said. "This will be the first time I've been back to Mississippi to play football. That's a big game for me."
Georgia has won nine straight against Mississippi State, last losing in 1974, and hasn't lost in that state since an 18-10 defeat at Ole Miss in 1995, which was Ray Goff's final season as Bulldogs coach. A year later under Jim Donnan, Georgia lost at home to Southern Miss and Ole Miss, marking the last time the Bulldogs have lost to teams from Mississippi.
Head coach Mark Richt shortened Wednesday's workout to 90 minutes following Tuesday's 122-play scrimmage, and the Bulldogs practiced without four inside linebackers. Akeem Dent (toe), Marcus Dowtin (scrapes from a scooter accident), Michael Gilliard (hamstring) and Richard Samuel (leg) are sidelined, and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said Samuel is really getting hurt by the missed time because he's so young at linebacker.
One of the top position battles is the defensive end spot opposite Demarcus Dobbs, which is being contested by Abry Jones and Brandon Wood.