For the first time in several seasons, there will be a meaningful game played between the hedges next weekend. Depending on how the Arkansas-South Carolina game turns out tonight, it could be a game that lands Georgia in the SEC championship game for the first time since 2005.
However, regardless of how the Razorbacks-Gamecocks game turns out tonight, the Auburn game could very well have an impact on the future of the Bulldogs program. If Georgia beats Auburn at home next weekend, it ensures that Richt is back for 2012—although I believe that happens regardless.
Some have argued that a loss to Georgia Tech could still lead to the dismissal of Richt. However, he is not going to be fired for losing to a team he beat 10 of the 11 previous seasons.
This game would be more than a win versus a top-25 team. This win is not just about possibly getting into the SEC championship game. A win could mean a strong swing in recruiting. There are several recruits that are waiting to find out the fate of Richt.
The uncertainty of Richt’s future has been a theme that opposing coaches have used to try to sway recruits away from the Bulldogs. A win silences those questions and could make the future very bright.
Perhaps, the biggest name left on the Bulldogs recruiting board is North Carolina running back Keith Marshall. Marshall has wanted to be a Bulldog his whole life, but he wants to know that Richt will be back.
A win could help secure the Georgia backfield for the next several years with both Isaiah Crowell and Keith Marshall on the roster.
The No. 9 player in the nation and No. 1 player in the state of Florida John Theus is committed to the Bulldogs already. However, he recently set up an official visit to Notre Dame. He told the AJC about his plans to visit, “They understand that I am committed and I have been honest with them about my commitment; They know I am going to Georgia as long as coach [Mark Richt] is there.”
Georgia returns nine players on defense next season. Their star quarterback is a sophomore. Their leading rusher is a freshman, and three of their four top wide receivers are freshmen.
The future is bright, but a win could lead to another streak of consecutive top ten rankings.