Dawgs want respect for equally tough D
Talk of LSU making BCS title game regardless has Georgia more than miffed
ATHENS, Ga. -- Christian Robinson has heard a seemingly endless array of college football analysts say that the outcome of this weekend's SEC championship game doesn't matter -- that LSU will play for the BCS title even if it loses to Georgia on Saturday.
The Bulldogs linebacker won't deny that hearing such talk has placed a chip on his shoulder as his underdog Georgia team (10-2) prepares to face the top-ranked Tigers (12-0).
"Everybody thinks we can't do it, and everybody's saying that no matter what we do that LSU's going to end up in the national championship. I took that as kind of a slap in the face," Robinson said. "I'm not trying to start anything, but at the same time, this is the biggest game I've ever played in. This late in the season, playing the No. 1 team for something that matters, this is what we came here to do. I want to win, and I'm not taking it lightly."
"For you to win 10 games in a row against ranked opponents and decrease in the standings, to me it doesn't sound right," nose guard John Jenkins said. "Anybody can tell you that doesn't sound right."
The Bulldogs know their losses to Boise State and South Carolina to open the season prevent them from receiving serious consideration for the BCS title game, even if they beat LSU. But they believe they are in the same class as Alabama and LSU -- the teams many analysts believe will play for the BCS title in January -- and they hope to prove it this weekend in Atlanta.
"We've just got to go out there and prove that we're up there, too, and we should be in the race," safety Bacarri Rambo said. "But the first two games really messed our chances up. We're just going to go out there and play hard for this SEC championship. That's all that really matters."
And if Georgia does pull off the upset and LSU and Alabama still play for the BCS crown, don't bother trying to convince Robinson that it's a national championship game.
The junior is not among those who believe a rematch between the Tigers and Crimson Tide is the proper ending for this season.
"If LSU loses and Alabama doesn't play in their conference championship -- that they can both go to the national championship, I think that's flawed. There's got to be some criteria to cancel that out," Robinson said. "But we still have to play this Saturday, so we'll see what happens."
Jones speaks his mind Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones acknowledges that LSU has no shortage of outstanding players, but he takes umbrage with the perception that the Tigers have a superior defense.
The Bulldogs aren't too shabby in that department, either, he said.
"A lot of people don't give us credit of how they play and how we play," Jones said. "I think we play two different styles. I think our defense is just as good as theirs, if not better."
LSU ranks second in the nation in scoring defense (10.6 points per game) and second in total defense (248.4 yards per game), while Georgia is 10th in scoring defense (17.8 ppg) and fifth in total defense (271.1 ypg).
The Tigers have faced four of the nations' top 50 teams in total offense and the Bulldogs have faced only two.
Still, the Bulldogs believe they deserve more credit as a defense than they're getting.
"Look at the numbers; we're hanging, too. I was telling somebody earlier we're up there in numbers, too," Robinson said. "If we go up there and do what we're supposed to do this Saturday, we could end up better than they are in the numbers game, but ultimately win the game.
"You don't want to get into word battles, but at the same time, if [Jones] wants to go and say that, I don't think that's the smartest thing to do. There's been a lot of teams that run their mouth and get beat. But if he wants to do that, then do it."
Grantham left off Broyles list Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham was left off the list of finalists for the Frank Broyles Award, which goes to the nation's top assistant coach.
Grantham's defensive transformation is the leading factor in the Bulldogs' recovery from a 6-7 record last year to 10-2 this season, including an SEC East title. The Bulldogs rank among the nation's top 11 teams in total defense, scoring defense, run defense and pass defense.
The five finalists announced Monday by the Rotary Club of Little Rock (Ark.), which presents the award, are: LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis, Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst, Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, Arkansas offensive coordinator Garrick McGee and Alabama linebackers coach Sal Sunseri.
Munson memorial Georgia announced Monday that it will hold a one-hour memorial service for former radio announcer Larry Munson at 1 p.m. ET Dec. 10 at Sanford Stadium.
The Bulldogs' famous announcer, who called Georgia games for 42 years, died Nov. 20 of complications from pneumonia.
The service will be open to the public, and stadium gates will open at noon. Seating will be on the south side of the stadium. Free parking will be available on a first-come, first-served basis in all surface lots and in the Tate Student Center parking deck.
In the case of inclement weather, the memorial service will move to Stegeman Coliseum.
David Ching covers University of Georgia sports for DawgNation. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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