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Vanderbilt Vs. Georgia Preview: Critical Stretches for Different Reasons

Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Vanderbilt Commodores vs. Georgia Bulldogs, 7:45 p.m. ET, ESPN2

This week's game begins a critical stretch of games for both Vanderbilt and Georgia. The goals are different and the reasons that the next few weeks are important also aren't similar -- but the game tonight is the beginning of a period that could decide whether either team's season is considered a success.

For Georgia, the case is straightforward. Starting this evening, Georgia will play all five of the remaining SEC East teams after defeating Missouri. If the Dawgs can go undefeated against that slate, they will all but wrap up the division with only games against Ole Miss and at Auburn left. Georgia will have a one-game cushion against every team in the East and a near certainty that they will at most lose one of their remaining games.

For Vanderbilt, it's more a matter of surviving the next three weeks. In addition to tonight's trip to Georgia, Vanderbilt goes to Missouri after a two-week break and then faces a vastly improved Florida team the week after that. The Commodores could be 1-5 then, but there are at least five winnable games on the schedule after that. Keep the morale high and the injuries low over the next three weeks, and Vanderbilt could go to back-to-back bowl games.

Of course, if Vanderbilt knocks off Georgia, the window of opportunity for their season opens up and Georgia's next few weeks will be vital for another reason entirely. But let's not get ridiculous; the stakes are high enough without resorting to the absurd.

Georgia 26, Vanderbilt 13