The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

November 9, 2012

No. 5 Georgia guns for SEC East title at Auburn



AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Auburn remembers being where No. 5 Georgia stands: a win away from the SEC championship game with a national title still within grasp.

It was only two years ago, after all. Before the Bulldogs' impressive rise and the Tigers' dramatic fall.

Georgia (8-1, 6-1 Southeastern Conference) can clinch its second straight trip to the league championship game with a victory over Auburn (2-7, 0-6) on Saturday night.

The Tigers snapped a five-game losing streak last weekend against New Mexico State but are still a longshot to win an SEC game since that requires a win over the Bulldogs or No. 1 Alabama.

"Us playing big in a game like this is huge," Auburn coach Gene Chizik said. "Our guys catching a little bit of momentum from last week. This is just a huge rivalry game.

"We've been on the flip side of this where we've got to win to win our side of the league. As a matter of fact, it was against Georgia when we were in the exact same position here at home. Hey, we're excited about the challenge."

The stakes are pretty clear for the Bulldogs. Win, they're in the SEC title game. Lose, and Florida goes to Atlanta instead.

Georgia comes into this game a 15-1/2-point favorite in what's billed as the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry. The border battle has been traditionally competitive with Auburn holding a slender 54-53-8 edge.

But the gap has widened in Georgia's favor since Cam Newton rallied Auburn to a 49-31 win two years ago to clinch the SEC Western Division crown against a Georgia team on its way to a 6-7 season. The Bulldogs produced the biggest margin in the rivalry dating back to 1892 last season with a 45-7 win.

Now, the Tigers are in a tailspin and Chizik's job might be in serious jeopardy.

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