Georgia and Texas A&M meet for the first time since the Aggies joined the Southeastern Conference in 2012, kicking off just after 3:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon between the hedges on Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium.
It’s also the Aggies’ first trip to Athens since 1980, when Georgia defeated Texas A&M 42-0 to make it 2-0 in the perfect 12-0 national championship season, in the Athens debut of freshman tailback Herschel Walker.
Another freshman named Walker made the game-saving play last week for the Bulldogs at Auburn. Defensive tackle Trayvon Walker sacked Auburn quarterback Bo Nix on fourth down in Tiger territory to preserve a thrilling 21-14 at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The victory pushed Georgia to 9-1 on the season, 6-1 in the league, clinching the East Division title and a third straight trip to the SEC Championship Game.
Kirby Smart’s Bulldogs are the first program out of the East to go to three straight SEC title tilts since Steve Spurrier’s powerhouse Florida teams went to the first five from 1992-1996.
Much more is still on the table for Georgia though, and this is no softy like so many in that next to last regular season contest prior to the famed traditional Thanksgiving weekend rivalry games, and the Bulldogs annual finale against Tech.
Jimbo Fisher, in his second year at the Aggies’ helm, has his team playing its best football of the season. Texas A&M comes in at 7-3 and 4-2 in the SEC. Facing one of the most difficult schedules in the country, the Aggies’ losses have come against Clemson, Auburn, and Alabama.
Texas A&M is rolling, winners of four in a row, including a 30-6 win over South Carolina this past Saturday night in College Station.
Fisher’s offense rolled up over 300 yards on the ground against the Gamecocks and the defense kept South Carolina out of the end zone. The Gamecocks, not that Georgia fans need the reminder, handed the Bulldogs a 20-17 loss in Athens last month.
Since the Aggies loss to Alabama on October 12 – the same day that South Carolina upset Georgia – Texas A&M has ripped off wins over Ole Miss in Oxford, Mississippi State, Texas-San Antonio, and the Gamecocks.
With Georgia, and then LSU in Baton Rouge next week, the Aggies have played themselves into a position where they can have a huge impact on how the college football season plays out in so many ways, including putting themselves into a premier bowl game.
When it comes to the biggest of pictures, Georgia is still alive, but it’s another huge challenge in one of the most difficult November gauntlets in the country.