ATLANTA -- The Georgia Bulldogs will climb aboard their buses today and head to an Atlanta-area hotel, just as they do before every home game. The following day, they'll walk into the stadium through a cauldron of red-clad fans, just as they do between the hedges. A neutral site? Hardly.
The 13th-ranked Bulldogs will clearly feel at home when they meet No. 3 LSU in tomorrow's Southeastern Conference championship game at the Georgia Dome.
''I don't think neutral has anything to do with it," said Andrew Whitworth, the star of LSU's offensive line.
While the Tigers are the designated home team, they know that most of the fans -- two-thirds or more, if past games are any indication -- will be wearing red and black.
The SEC held its first two championships at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala., but the game moved to Atlanta's 70,000-seat indoor stadium in 1994 and has been there ever since.
Atlanta had a true neutral feel for the first eight title games. That all changed in 2002, when the Bulldogs reached the championship for the first time, transforming the Georgia Dome into Sanford Stadium West for a 30-3 rout of Arkansas. Georgia (9-2) has kept up its winning ways, getting back to the championship game for the third time in four years.