ATHENS, Ga. -- The Georgia Bulldogs are not going to start scoreboard watching this Saturday to see if college football's undefeated trio of Kansas State, Oregon and Notre Dame can falter.
They've been doing it all month.
"We got out of the locker room after the Ole Miss game, and we were all just sitting there," linebacker Christian Robinson said Tuesday. "No one left because we were all watching Notre Dame [top Pittsburgh in triple overtime]. Everybody in the nation knows we're cheering for other teams, because at this point it's the only way we would have a chance of getting in."
Since the implementation of the Bowl Championship Series in 1998, nine Southeastern Conference teams have played in the national title game and eight have won it. Alabama, Florida and LSU have two titles apiece in the BCS era, while Auburn and Tennessee each has one, but Georgia has yet to play for the national championship.
Georgia (9-1, 7-1) is No. 5 in this week's BCS standings and will be heavily favored the next two Saturdays against the triple-option combo of Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech. The Bulldogs are ranked one spot behind Alabama (9-1, 6-1), which will face Georgia on Dec. 1 in the SEC title game should the Crimson Tide defeat reeling Auburn on Nov. 24.
Alabama provided the SEC a sixth consecutive national title last season, but the league will need help for that record streak to continue.
"I'm definitely going to be watching the Kansas State, Oregon and Notre Dame matchups the next three weeks to see if two of them will lose," Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray said. "It definitely excites our guys. There is nothing wrong with thinking big and dreaming big as long as we make sure we focus on the next two weeks and finish the regular season strong."
Should Kansas State, Oregon and Notre Dame remain perfect, the Irish could be the odd team out with a legitimate argument. Yet there could be lobbying by the SEC champion as well, considering the league accounts for the next six teams in this week's BCS standings after the top three.
"I don't think that the winner of the SEC championship game would be out of it yet," South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said. "I would think that if Georgia beats Georgia Tech and Alabama wins out and they play each other, I would think that the winner may have a shot of getting into the final game over one of those teams that doesn't have a tough schedule. We'll have to wait it all out."
Said Bulldogs center David Andrews: "I think we play in the best conference, but my opinion really doesn't matter. To be honest, I really don't understand how it all works."
Georgia coach Mark Richt said Tuesday that he is not going to worry about something he can't control and that focusing internally after the 35-7 loss at South Carolina on Oct. 6 helped the Bulldogs land a second straight SEC East title. Richt lobbied for his Bulldogs at the end of the chaotic 2007 season, when they closed strong but didn't qualify for the league championship and went instead to the Sugar Bowl to face Hawaii.
Richt did admit that Georgia's goals are still intact and that resetting them once you've been eliminated from your division is never fun.
If the scenario of the top five teams continuing to win occurred two years from now, the SEC champion would be guaranteed a spot in a four-team playoff. This isn't 2014 for the Bulldogs, but at least it isn't 2010, either.
In those days, the Bulldogs weren't distracted by BCS speculation but whether Richt would still be their coach.
"It's a great feeling," cornerback Sanders Commings said. "I came here to be a part of teams like this, and there is no better year than my senior year."
Contact David Paschall at email@example.com or 423-757-6524.