Georgia Bulldogs: Verne Lundquist

ATHENS, Ga. -- As he and broadcast partner Verne Lundquist opened their broadcast for last Saturday’s Florida-Georgia game, CBS color analyst Gary Danielson echoed what members of both fan bases -- as well as college football observers around the country -- had been thinking.

[+] EnlargeAaron Murray
AP Photo/John RaouxAaron Murray hopes that last weekend's win over Florida can stop people from questioning Georgia's aptitude in "big" games.
“It sounds like both are doing very well, but if you ask the fan base, Florida seems like the clutch team. They come through, they seem like overachievers,” said Danielson, going on to say that Georgia -- particularly its defense -- was “the most underachieving group of players in the conference this year.”

That’s where a series of big-game failures in recent seasons had placed the Bulldogs in the national consciousness, with Georgia coach Mark Richt bearing the brunt of analysts’ criticism and fans’ wrath. And the questions were perfectly reasonable, as Richt’s teams had won just once in their last 10 games against top-10 opponents as they prepared to take the field against then-No. 2 Florida with first place in the SEC East on the line.

So when the Bulldogs handed the Gators a 17-9 defeat -- which stands as the highest-ranked team to fall to a Richt-coached Georgia club since he became coach in 2001 -- it didn’t necessarily remove the questions about Georgia’s big-game failures, but it certainly stopped the bleeding.

“Hopefully now no one will talk about, ‘Georgia can’t win the big games’ because that was a huge game -- the No. 2 team in the nation, a chance to put ourselves back in the lead in the East,” said quarterback Aaron Murray, whose sixth-ranked Georgia team (7-1, 5-1 SEC) hosts Ole Miss (5-3, 2-2) on Saturday. “It was a big one, so hopefully that’s a dead discussion. That would be great.”

Murray likely realizes that one win won’t stop the questions entirely, even a win as big as the one the Bulldogs notched last Saturday in Jacksonville. The 1-9 streak against top-10 teams leading up to the Florida game started in 2008 and carried on through a supremely disappointing 35-7 loss to South Carolina earlier this month.

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