ATHENS, GA - NOVEMBER 19: Aaron Murray #11 of the Georgia Bulldogs rushes for a first down against the Kentucky Wildcats at Sanford Stadium on November 19, 2011 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Perhaps it was fitting that the SEC East division title was clinched in an ugly game against one of the worst teams in college football. As of this writing, South Carolina clobbered The Citadel by three touchdowns, but only after a harrowing first half. Florida also trailed Furman, another Southern Conference team from the FCS, by 22-7 before taking the lead and then pulling away late.
So who's going to hold Georgia's 19-10 win against Kentucky against the Dawgs? After all, while they only generated 317 yards of total offense, and while holding Kentucky's abysmal offense to 165 yards isn't exactly a monumental task, there's no one in the division who doesn't have a game they would rather forget having played. Gripe about the schedule that helped Georgia win all you want, but South Carolina couldn't defeat an Auburn team in Columbia in a game that remains the Tigers' only road win of the season; Georgia clubbed that same Auburn team by 38.
And it's hard to not feel good for Mark Richt, a coach whose seat grew warm in part because of his own record over the first decade of his tenure. If there were any Georgia fans that were seriously thinking about dumping the head coach, they've been quieted, and it's hard to see them speaking up again for quite some time. A team that at times looked hopeless and hapless during an 0-2 start instead found a way to win nine straight games, clinching the division for the first time since 2005.
For Kentucky, the loss completely eliminates the slim hope the Wildcats had of extending their streak of bowl appearances, which now ends at five. It could be that Joker Phillips is the coach that's now on the hot seat, with fan discontent continuing to grow and the program headed in the wrong direction. It's not that Kentucky lost against a team that's headed to Atlanta; it's that they looked clueless and poorly coached doing so.
But the day was mostly about a celebration for Georgia. Call it an ugly game, call it a ticket to lose to the SEC West winner in Atlanta, call it whatever you want. Just don't forget to to call the Dawgs champions while you're doing it.