This time, they’ll have star Green
By SETH EMERSON
BOULDER, Colo. — By now, the story line has become too familiar. In fact, it has become old.
The Georgia football team woke up this morning, probably stared at the Rocky Mountains and remembered that it absolutely has to win this game.
Just like it had to win the previous game — and the one before that.
Three weeks ago, the Bulldogs still had what seemed to be a reasonable goal of winning the SEC East. Three losses later, they might need to beat Colorado tonight to retain hopes of even making a bowl.
But the Bulldogs can be forgiven for being weary of win-or-else games. Junior wide receiver Logan Gray summed it up when he said, “Arkansas game, we needed to get a win. Lost a tough one. Last week, it was we have to get a win, we have to get a win. Then it didn’t work out. This is another week — have to get a win. Nobody wants it worse than the players.
“I think there’s a lot of people that are upset about how things are going, being 1-3. But there’s nobody more upset than us.”
Georgia should at least get a lift with the return of wide receiver A.J. Green. The star junior is coming off an NCAA suspension, and, in his absence, the Bulldogs’ offense has struggled mightily.
Colorado coach Dan Hawkins expects Green’s presence to be a lift.
“I think they need that shot in the arm, just emotionally,” Hawkins said.
Colorado is honoring its 1990 national championship team. But the program has changed a lot in 20 years.
The Buffaloes (2-1) have not had a winning season since 2005, the final year of Gary Barnett’s head coaching tenure. Barnett, who was an assistant on the 1990 title team, is scheduled to be among those honored today.
Hawkins replaced Barnett and has gone 18-34 and probably needs a big season to avoid losing his job. Hawkins ranks No. 5 on the website Coacheshotseat.com. One spot behind Hawkins on that same list is Georgia’s Mark Richt.
This will be a slight homecoming for Richt, who lived near Boulder for seven years as a child. His father worked at IBM there before moving the family to south Florida.
“Looking out my window, I could see the Rocky Mountains,” Richt said.
If the Bulldogs can leave the Rockies with a victory, they could have a winning record soon. They should be favored in their next two games, at home against Tennessee and Vanderbilt.
Then again, few expected the Bulldogs to be 1-3 heading into this matchup.
“They’re still the same Georgia team,” Colorado quarterback Tyler Hansen said. “They know what it’s like to win. So it’s not like it’s anything new to them. It is new to them that they’re losing right now, actually. But they’re still the same Georgia team: same athletes, same good players. Just because they lost the last three games doesn’t mean they’re a bad team at all.”
This will be the last of Georgia’s run of Western road trips after games at Arizona State and Oklahoma State. Earlier this week, athletics director Greg McGarity announced the cancellation of a series with Oregon, citing the effect midseason travel has on a team.
But in Georgia’s current state, quarterback Aaron Murray noted that there is a way for his team to feel refreshed Sunday.
“Especially if we win, that flight will be not so bad,” Murray said. “I think everyone will sleep peacefully on the plane.”