‘Gurley Watch’ continues as Bulldogs resume preparations for Florida

Georgia is hopeful it will hear from the NCAA before it resumes practices Monday. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Georgia is hopeful it will hear from the NCAA before it resumes practices Monday. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)


1. Welcome to Day 18 of the “Todd Gurley Watch.”

Hard to believe, but it has been nearly three weeks since Georgia ruled its star tailback ineligible.  Gurley sat out the Bulldogs’ last two games — road wins over Missouri and Arkansas — while UGA investigated allegations he violated NCAA rules by receiving money for autographing memorabilia. Georgia turned over the results of that probe to the NCAA this past Wednesday and applied for his eligibility to be restored. The decision will be made by the NCAA’s student-athlete reinstatement committee.

UGA has remained understandably tight-lipped about the situation since then, with only coach Mark Richt making comments. Suffice it to say, the Bulldogs had hoped to hear something by now. Out of fairness to the coaching staff, which must install a game plan for Saturday’s game against Florida in Jacksonville, they are hopeful they will get an answer from the NCAA before they return to Woodruff Practice Fields on Monday afternoon.

2. Idle over the weekend, the Bulldogs (6-1, 4-1 SEC) moved up one spot to No. 8 in the USA Today/Coaches poll and remained No. 9 in The Associated Press rankings. Of course, those aren’t the polls that matter anymore.

The College Football Playoff selection committee will release its first Top 25 rankings Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. Their final poll will determine final-four bracket Dec. 7. But it’s not intended to be a projection, so I wouldn’t imagine the initial poll, compiled by the 12 hand-picked committee members, will look much different than the current AP top four. As of Sunday that was Mississippi State, Florida State, Alabama and Auburn as of Sunday.

As for the Bulldogs, they are well-positioned to have a say in the whole process. If Georgia takes care of business in their final three SEC games, vs. Florida Saturday, at Kentucky on Nov. 8 and at home against Auburn on Nov. 15, it will be the Eastern Division representative in the SEC Championship Game on Dec. 6.

“I think everybody who’s interested in college football will be looking forward to seeing what the committee comes up with,” Richt said Sunday. “I’ll be one of them, I’ll be interested in seeing what it is and I don’t even know if the show has an explanation of why they pick what they pick or they just say who they pick or how they rank them. It’ll just be interesting to see how the whole thing unfolds, really. I will say this, there are so many one-loss teams there’s a lot to choose from, really, so it will be interesting to see what their take is, what criteria they feel is most important and how they weigh it. Again, I don’t know if they’ll verbalize that but you might be able to put two and two together after seeing what they come up with.”

3. In other sports, Georgia’s soccer team took a step back this past weekend. The Bulldogs (10-5-1, 5-4-1) were well-positioned for a top seed in the SEC tournament. But they dropped a pair of 2-0 games to Alabama and Kentucky this past weekend to fall back in the pack.

Georgia now stands tied for fifth place in the conference standings with one regular-season game remaining, They travel to Texas A&M this week for a rare Thursday meeting in College Station. The Aggies (14-2-2, 8-1-1) are currently ranked No. 6 in the nation.

“I think we can still walk out of this game with some confidence,” coach Steve Holeman said. “Like I said, we played really well, we just didn’t get the result, so this team knows that we’re good. Obviously we have a tough matchup coming up against [Texas] A&M, but we’re going to go into that game and give it our best shot, and I think we’ll play well.”


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