Welcome to the Fragile Bowl.
Tennessee and Georgia are scheduled to meet Saturday afternoon at Sanford Stadium, provided they can get off the mat following gut-wrenching losses this past weekend.
The Bulldogs fell to 1-4 when a Caleb King fumble at Colorado's 27-yard line with 1:55 remaining preserved a 29-27 win by the Buffaloes. The Vols fell to 2-3 when a defensive penalty on the final play gave LSU a second chance to turn a 14-10 defeat into a 16-14 victory.
"It would have been good medicine for us and something to really build on, but we're still waiting for that opportunity to build on a victory," Georgia coach Mark Richt said Sunday. "We can't sit around and cry about it, because if we do, we're really going to be in trouble. Tennessee played a great game against LSU and had a heartbreaking loss themselves.
"These are two teams with a lot history of being ranked, and now we're both sitting there without a win in the SEC. It's a little bit different circumstances for both teams but a very important game for both of us."
The Vols and Bulldogs will vie for the first time since 1906 with both teams owning losing records.
Georgia has dropped four consecutive games for the first time in 20 years and hasn't lost five straight in the same season since 1953. Richt said there has not been any instances of players not working or not cooperating or not believing.
Still, there is a sense of shock for a program that leads the nation with 13 consecutive seasons of eight or more wins.
"There is going to be frustration," defensive end Demarcus Dobbs said. "We're Georgia. We never expect ourselves to get four losses or lose to the teams we have lost to."
Said receiver A.J. Green: "I've never been 1-4 in my life."
Two of Georgia's setbacks - Arkansas and Colorado - occurred in the final two minutes, and all four were in doubt early in the fourth quarter.
"I think our guys are going to be OK," Richt said. "I don't think we've got a problem where they're saying, 'Here it goes again.' I'm trying to think of a situation where that could have been creeping into our mindset, but I don't think it's been an issue."
Odds and ends
Freshman linebacker T.J. Stripling will undergo season-ending surgery Tuesday after injuring his patella tendon late in the first quarter Saturday. ... Sophomore cornerback Branden Smith is doubtful for this week after sustaining a concussion at Colorado, his second this season.