Georgia Tech (6-5) at #3 UGA (10-1)
The high-scoring Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets would love nothing more than to ruin No. 3 Georgia's grand plans of a national championship.
It's already been a good week at Georgia Tech (6-5), which, despite its ordinary record, automatically claimed a spot in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game after Miami pulled out of postseason play over alleged NCAA violations.
But the title game against No. 10 Florida State is a week away.
The Yellow Jackets are focused solely on the Bulldogs (10-1).
"We're not looking forward," running back Robert Godhigh said. "It's good that we made the ACC championship, but this is a big game for us, too, a rivalry with our biggest rival. The other game, the chance to go to the Orange Bowl, beating Georgia would just make that experience even better."
Georgia Tech has won four out of five since dumping defense coordinator Al Groh at midseason. The Yellow Jackets haven't undergone a radical overhaul, but they've simplified their 3-4 scheme and seem to be playing with more speed and reckless abandon.
Nevertheless, they'll have a hard time slowing Murray and the potent Georgia offense, which has two of the nation's top freshman backs (Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall) and a long list of potential receivers, even after season-ending injuries to Michael Bennett and Marlon Brown.
"We've got some momentum here in the last half of the year," Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said. "Certainly we'll have to play our best game of the year to have a chance."
Georgia's defense has definitely improved, a turnaround that began after safety Shawn Williams called out his teammates, accusing them of playing soft when the Bulldogs surrendered at least 20 points in six of their first seven games. A couple of players were ticked off at Williams, believing he singled them out unfairly, but there's no doubt the defense has played more like everyone expected since the outburst.
Richt, who initially said he would've preferred Williams to state his case in private rather than through the media, now speaks of the tirade as a turning point of the season. The Bulldogs stifled then-unbeaten Florida 17-9 and have given up just 33 points in their last four games.
"We didn't start out playing as great as we hoped to, especially on the defensive side of the ball," the coach said. "But we got that thing turned around when Shawn showed some leadership. I think that was the catalyst for the defense to pick it up. We've been playing pretty well ever since."
Murray has done his part, too.
He leads the nation in passing efficiency and needs just 14 yards to become the first quarterback in SEC history to throw for more than 3,000 in three consecutive years. He's also a winner in the classroom, having already moved on to graduate school after earning his degree in psychology.
But, even if Georgia wins the national championship, Murray won't concede he'll be playing in the NFL next season.
"How about multiple championships?" he said. "I would like to get as many as I can."