Spurrier not counting on Kentucky upset of UGA

Two months after finding itself 0-2, unranked and injury depleted, Georgia's football team enters this week on the cusp of the SEC East championship.

All that stands between the Bulldogs and the division title is Saturday's game in Sanford Stadium against Kentucky, which has lost five of six league games this season -- the most recent by 30 points to Vanderbilt.

Georgia (8-2, 6-1 SEC) has won eight consecutive games, including six SEC games, since opening the season with losses to Boise State and South Carolina. A win over Kentucky would send the Bulldogs to Atlanta for the SEC title game. A Georgia loss would send South Carolina (8-2, 6-2) to the title game, and at this point even the Gamecocks would be surprised by that turn of events.

"It looks like Georgia is going to win the East now," South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said on a conference call with reporters on Sunday. "Give Georgia credit for regrouping; it looks like they're going to win seven straight [SEC] games. You always hold out a little hope [for a Kentucky upset], but Georgia is playing awfully well now.

"I really thought before the season if you did go 6-2 and you beat Georgia, that would probably be good enough. But it ...  doesn't look like it is."

Kentucky's only SEC victory this season came against Ole Miss, a 30-13 win. Otherwise, the Wildcats (4-6, 1-5 SEC) have lost their league games by an average margin of 31.8 points -- 48-10 to Florida, 35-7 to LSU, 54-3 to South Carolina, 28-16 to Mississippi State and 38-8 to Vanderbilt.

Such scores notwithstanding, Kentucky now is the only obstacle to Georgia achieving, for the first time since 2005, the goal with which it opens every season -- a berth in the SEC championship game.

Even as the Bulldogs celebrated Saturday's 45-7 victory over Auburn, which last month defeated South Carolina, unfinished business loomed.

"I never want to squelch a celebration," UGA coach Mark Richt said Sunday. "We work too hard and we put them through so much from January to the season, so if there is ever a time worthy of celebrating, I like them to celebrate.

"But when they're done dancing around and having a ball or whatever they're doing with the fans or in the locker room, when everybody settles down, then you've got to remind them of where we are, where we want to go and what we have to do to get there. I think we did a pretty good job of that in the locker room after the game."

Kentucky rarely wins in Sanford Stadium, where the Wildcats are 4-24-2 all-time and have won only once since 1977. That win came on the Wildcats' most recent visit in 2009, when Georgia self-destructed and committed four second-half turnovers to squander a 20-6 halftime lead and lose 34-27.

"I'm sure I'll bring it up to the boys," Richt said. "That would be very valuable for our guys to remember. ... It makes a point about how important that turnover battle is."

Richt noted that Georgia hasn't lost the turnover battle in any game on its eight-game winning streak.

Kentucky will bring to Athens an offense that ranks No. 118 out of 120 FBS (formerly Division I-A) teams. Georgia, on the other hand, ranks No. 4 nationally in total defense, behind only Alabama, LSU and Michigan State.

Hard hit by injuries early in the season, especially at the inside-linebacker positions, Georgia is generally healthy at this point. The only known injury in the Auburn game was nose guard Kwame Geathers' sprained ankle; he left in the second quarter and did not return.

Richt was unsure Sunday of Geathers' status for the Kentucky game.

Georgia, which fell out of the polls after losing its season opener to Boise State, continued its recent climb in the rankings Sunday, inching up to No. 13 in the Associated Press poll and No. 15 in the USA Today coaches' poll.