My simple answer is that this is the most important game left on Georgia's schedule. While all of the big rivalry games remain on the schedule, they will have no added story lines unless the Dawgs beat the Dogs on Saturday. Walk with me.
A Georgia win means the Dawgs will be back over .500 in the SEC for the first time since early in the season in 2009. This will be Georgia's last home game for over a month, so now is the last chance to have the home crowd help the Dawgs build the confidence they need to compete in Jacksonville. The next two games are in the state of Tennessee against clubs that Georgia should be favored to beat.
Tennessee is still a very young team that lost its best offensive player (Justin Hunter) to injury. They put up impressive numbers against lesser schools to start the season, but against Florida they looked like the young team that they are. For Georgia, this game will not be easy to win, but coming into Neyland with a winning record should give them the extra boost of confidence needed to pull out the victory.
The next week is Vanderbilt, a team that many people think are much improved. But last Saturday night, Vanderbilt could not take advantage of 4 Stephen Garcia interceptions andcould only score 3 points on a South Carolina team that Georgia put up 42 on. This may not be the 40 something to nothing blowout like it was last year, but the Dawgs should win.
If all this shakes out, Georgia could find itself at 5-2 heading into the off week. With both losses coming against top 15 teams, they most certainly will be back in the national rankings. Florida is always tough and this year will be no exception. But knowing that a win the next week over New Mexico State will secure a bowl birth again should take some of the pressure off the Dawgs.
But none of this happens without a win Saturday. A loss on Saturday means a losing record heading into a month away from home.
Do you honestly think Coach Richt would survive coming home from Jacksonville with a 3-5 record and Auburn and Tech still left on the schedule? I don't think so.