Georgia got the news it had been waiting on Wednesday concerning star receiver A.J. Green, and it wasn't good.
The NCAA ruled that Green be required to miss four games as a penalty for selling his Independence Bowl jersey to someone who meets the NCAA's definition of an agent. Green already sat out the opener against Louisiana-Lafayette, so that means he will also miss this Saturday's game at South Carolina, the Sept. 18 home game against Arkansas and the Sept. 25 away game against Mississippi State.
The blow is especially tough for the Bulldogs, because the next three games are SEC games, two of those on the road.
Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said the school would appeal the NCAA's ruling, hoping to get Green's suspension reduced.
With Green, the Bulldogs' receiving corps is one of the best in the SEC. Without him, there's not a proven go-to guy.
Getting sophomore Tavarres King back this week will help. He was suspended for the opener following an offseason arrest. Senior Kris Durham will again start in Green's flanker spot after catching five passes for 83 yards and a touchdown last week. The player the Bulldogs need to step up more than ever now is sophomore Marlon Brown.
Here's Mark Richt's statement on the matter:
"Certainly I'm disappointed with the outcome. However, we have games to play and that's where our focus needs to be in the coming days and weeks. Other players will have to step forward and I'm confident they will do that."
Here's Green's full statement:
"I want to apologize to my coaches, teammates, and the Georgia fans for the mistake in judgment. I very much regret all that has taken place and the distraction that's been caused. I've learned a valuable lesson and hope others can learn from my mistake. I can only focus my attention now on practicing and looking ahead to getting back with my teammates as quickly as possible."
Maybe the Bulldogs will overcome. They certainly played well in their opener, but you can't help but wonder when all the off-the-field drama will finally catch up with them. They've had nine players arrested since March, going back to former quarterback Zach Mettenberger's arrest and his eventual dismissal from the team. And now they find out they will be without their best player the entire month of September.
It's not the way you draw it up. That's for sure. We'll find out how good these Bulldogs are at blocking everything out and just playing. At least, all the wondering about Green's status can end now.
They're not going to have him (unless they win an appeal) until the Colorado trip on Oct. 2.