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December 28, 2008

Dawgs draw the line with Gators

ORLANDO, Fla. Fullback Brannan Southerland will be rooting for Vanderbilt in its Music City Bowl matchup against Boston College.

Offensive tackle Clint Boling hopes Ole Miss takes measure of Texas Tech in the Cotton.

As for Florida in the BCS Championship against Oklahoma, well, the feelings are mixed.

"I always root for other SEC schools. You always want the SEC to look good and we definitely want to represent the SEC well," said Southerland, who along with the rest of the Bulldogs wrapped up their third day of practice Sunday afternoon at Orlando's Olympia High. "Florida? That's the hard one right there. I want the SEC to win but there are a couple of teams that you're not so fond of. I haven't made my decision on that one yet."

Southerland isn't alone.

During Georgia's Bowl Media Day two weeks ago, Boling was offered the same question to answer as Southerland. Like his teammate, the redshirt sophomore had trouble coming up with an answer.

"Certain situations you do," Boling said. "You want your conference to look good, but it also depends on certain things. Florida's a good team but I'm not really sure who I want to win that game."

Head coach Mark Richt has no such reservations.

According to Richt, it doesn't matter who the team is what the circumstances are, you root for teams in your conference to come out on top. No matter the color of their uniform.

"I always want teams from our conference to do well," Richt said.

So does sophomore linebacker Rennie Curran, who buys major stock in the argument of the importance of conference pride.

That's not all, particularly as it pertains to Georgia's Capital One Bowl date against Michigan State.

Curran is very aware that the SEC has dropped four straight in the contest to Big Ten foes and that Georgia is the last conference team to win the game when it beat Purdue in 2004.

"You definitely have to have pride in your conference," Curran said. "You have to go into it with a lot of pride and you've got to try and represent both you and your conference in the best way possible. You especially want to try and do that in bowl games like this. To me, there's a lot riding on the outcome."

Apparently, the same applies to Florida.

Like many of his teammates, Curran has former acquaintances currently playing for the Gators and makes no bones about wanting to see them do well.

"Definitely. I want to see their team take care of business and a beat Oklahoma, Curran said. "You want to see them do well so hopefully that will make you look good, too."

Of course, there wasn't much of anything good about the Bulldogs' earlier meeting with Florida; a game the Gators won 49-10.

"I don't like Florida but I respect them as a team and they've worked hard to get where they are. They deserve the success they've gotten," Curran said. "I definitely hope they take care of business and represent the SEC."

Wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi wouldn't quite go that far.

The senior from Charlotte, N.C. wasn't about to get drawn into the Great Gator debate. Although he did reiterate some of the same thoughts of his teammates, Massaquoi preferred to take an approach that left him right square in the middle of the road.

"You want your conference to play well because it's a reflection of your conference," Massaquoi said. "But me, I just want to see a good game. I just want the game to live up to the hype."

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