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UGA NOTEBOOK: Georgia QB Murray becomes Gator fan — just for this weekend; Bulldogs announce 2013 schedule

Aaron Murray and the Bulldogs need some help from Florida this weekend when the Gators take on the Gamecocks, who are in the driver's seat right now in the SEC East title race.

Aaron Murray and the Bulldogs need some help from Florida this weekend when the Gators take on the Gamecocks, who are in the driver's seat right now in the SEC East title race.

ATHENS— Aaron Murray isn’t asking Georgia fans to wear Florida’s orange and blue Saturday. He’s not expecting to see Bulldogs fans doing the Gator chomp.

All the same, the quarterback said Georgia fans can cheer for Florida against South Carolina on Saturday, if only for that one day.

“I definitely am,” Murray said.

Murray realizes No. 13 Georgia, which plays at Kentucky on Saturday night, needs help in the Southeastern Conference East Division race. Florida can provide that help.

Georgia (5-1, 3-1 SEC) trails Florida and South Carolina in the division. The Bulldogs could move to the top of the East if Florida tops South Carolina while Georgia beats Kentucky and beats Florida next week.

Go Gators? Murray smiled at the suggestion.

“I think everyone has a free pass as a Georgia fan to root for them,” Murray said. “I’m not saying deck out in Florida gear but definitely we would be a little happier if they came out with a victory on Saturday.”

Georgia was off last week after its lopsided 35-7 loss at South Carolina on Oct. 6. The loss robbed Georgia of its ability to control its fate in the division.

“It definitely stinks we’re not in the driver’s seat right now and we definitely have a lot of work to do,” Murray said. “We have to make sure we win the remainder of our games. If we lose even one more, we have no shot of getting to Atlanta.”

The Bulldogs’ hopes in the division were lifted when South Carolina (6-1, 4-1 SEC) lost to LSU last week. The Gamecocks would win a tie-breaker with Georgia if each team finishes with one conference loss.

Florida (6-0, 5-0 SEC) is left as the only undefeated team in the East. Georgia plays Florida next week in Jacksonville. With a win next week, Georgia would win a tie-breaker with the Gators.

Coach Mark Richt has reminded his players the Bulldogs can still win the division.

Richt uses the 2011 season as a history lesson for his team. Georgia started last season 0-2, including a loss to South Carolina. It closed the regular season with 10 straight wins to advance to the SEC championship game, where it lost to LSU.

“We know we’ve got to play as if we do control our own destiny,” Richt said Wednesday. “If anything does break for us to put it back in our hands, we better be ready for that opportunity. We were there last year. We know what it felt like. We just knew we had to keep grinding and play hard. We had to keep winning. That’s all we’re trying to do right now.”

Richt doesn’t want his team, which is favored by 27 ½ points against Kentucky (1-6, 0-4 SEC), looking ahead to the Florida game.

“We need to beat Kentucky right now,” Richt said. “That’s really all I’m worried about right now, and then the next week we’ll worry about that game.”

After playing Kentucky and Florida, Georgia closes its SEC schedule with games against Mississippi and Auburn.

When asked if his team is good enough to win the remainder of its conference games, Richt said “We’re a pretty good team, and we thought we could beat anyone we play when the season began, so that hasn’t changed.”

Notes: Georgia LB Jarvis Jones may miss the game with a sprained right ankle. Jones, who leads the team with 5 ½ sacks, was held out Wednesday for the third straight day. Freshman Jordan Jenkins could make his second start. He filled in against Florida Atlantic when Jones was held out with a groin injury. Jenkins has 3 sacks.


UGA'S 2013 SCHEDULE SET:

ATHENS --- Home games with South Carolina, LSU, Missouri, and Kentucky highlight the 2013 University of Georgia football schedule released Thursday by the Southeastern Conference.

The Bulldogs will also host home games against North Texas and Appalachian State as well as travel to Clemson, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Auburn, and Georgia Tech. Georgia will face Florida in the traditional game played at Jacksonville. Two open dates also dot the Bulldog schedule.

The 2013 schedule is considered a “bridge” schedule and not based on any other previous or future scheduling formats. The SEC Athletics Directors will convene in Spring 2013 to begin formulating schedules for the 2014 season and beyond.

“As we began working on the 2013 football schedule, it became apparent that the conference would need another year of the ‘bridge’ schedule to make everything work,” said SEC Commissioner Mike Slive. “I appreciate the SEC transition team and our athletics directors, who came together to put this schedule in place. We look forward to starting with our new scheduling rotation in 2014.”

The eight-game conference schedule consists of six games played inside the division and two games against teams from the opposite division. The cross-divisional common opponents that were previously announced by the conference will not take place until 2014.

In order to maintain a balanced schedule for the 2014 season and beyond, there are three games that will have repeat hosts from the 2012 schedule. Those games are Ole Miss at Alabama, Texas A&M at Ole Miss and Georgia at Auburn.

"There were so many variables in dealing with conference games, and the three repeat venue games, while not desired, provided the only solution to the complex scheduling issues,” said Slive.

"The 2013 schedule will obviously be very challenging,” said UGA Director of Athletics Greg McGarity. “Our number one priority throughout this process was to protect our long-standing rivalry game against Auburn, and in order to keep this series intact, it necessitated a return to Auburn in 2013. We will start working on the 2014 rotating SEC schedule this Spring, and we can confirm that Auburn will be returning to Athens in 2014."