ATLANTA — Georgia walked out of Sanford Stadium on Saturday still in control of its SEC championship hopes.
When the Bulldogs play their next home game in six weeks, their Southeastern Conference schedule will be over.
Georgia, No. 9 in The Associated Press Top 25 and No. 7 in the first BCS standings released Sunday, will play at No. 11 Louisiana State on Saturday. The Bulldogs play Florida in Jacksonville the following week, followed by road games at Kentucky and Auburn.
The Bulldogs have an off week after the Auburn game and finally return to Athens on Nov. 29 for their final regular-season game against Georgia Tech.
That’s a long road stretch, even for a coach who said he’s trying to think of only the visit to LSU.
Coach Mark Richt acknowledged the long stretch of games away from home is rare.
"And when you add the open date in there, too, it’s going to be quite some time," Richt said Sunday of the unusual gap between home games.
Georgia (6-1 overall, 3-1 SEC) moved up one spot in Sunday’s AP poll following its 24-14 home victory over Vanderbilt.
The Bulldogs are tied with Florida atop the SEC’s Eastern Division.
"Every goal we set is still in front of us," Richt said. "I would say we’re in pretty good shape."
Richt said long stretches of games played away from Athens at this point of the season are not unusual.
"I guess because we always play Florida in Jacksonville there’s going to be that type of situation," he said.
Georgia played three straight games away from home, including the Florida game at the neutral site, each of the past two years. The Bulldogs haven’t played four straight games away from Athens since 2004 when they won at Arkansas, followed by a win over Florida, a win at Kentucky and a loss at Auburn.
That 2004 stretch is the only other time in Richt’s eight years as coach that Georgia has played four straight games away from home.
Under Richt, Georgia is 27-4 in an opponent’s stadium, including 9-2 against ranked teams. The Bulldogs’ only loss this season came at home against Alabama.
"We play pretty well away from home," Richt said. "We just play whoever is on the schedule. We don’t worry about it."
The road stretch, starting with the games against LSU and No. 5 Florida, will give Georgia a chance to boost its national rankings.
Richt only wanted to talk about one game.
"Right now we’re really just concentrating on this LSU game, period," he said. "We’re trying to go 7-1. We’re trying to keep ourselves in good shape for the Eastern Division. ... All we want to talk about, all we want to think about, is playing this team. We’re playing a great team and doing the best we can."
Notes: Linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, who has been out with a knee injury since the Sept. 27 loss to Alabama, could return this week if he shows on Monday he can move well from side to side. Also, tight end Tripp Chandler (shoulder) and receiver Kris Durham (ankle) could return this week. ... Richt said he has suspended backup defensive tackle Brandon Wood for at least one game following Wood’s DUI arrest on Saturday night. ... Richt said another defensive tackle, Kade Weston, is expected to return for the LSU game after missing the Vanderbilt game with an injury. ... Richt said Georgia suffered no significant injuries against Vanderbilt. "I think this was the first game all season long where (trainer) Ron (Courson) never came to me and said so and so is out." Richt said linebacker Darryl Gamble "got the wind knocked out of him a couple of times."