Richt likes title game week this year

For the last several years, SEC championship game week ranked among Mark Richt’s least favorite weeks of the year.

“I hate that week,” Richt said after Wednesday’s practice.

Richt’s Georgia teams claimed division titles in three of his first five seasons at Georgia, but the Bulldogs had not returned to Atlanta for the league’s title game since 2005 -- until this season, when they will meet top-ranked LSU at the Georgia Dome on Saturday.

Instead of preparing to play a game, Richt said he would spend some of the week on the recruiting trail -- the NCAA’s allowed contact period starts the Sunday after the regular season ends -- and try to ignore the hype surrounding the big game in Atlanta.

“You just recruit your tail off and try to hopefully use that as an advantage in recruiting,” Richt said. “I think I’m allowed a couple tickets to the game or whatever. I’ve never gone. I would never want to go if we weren’t playing in it. You aspire to be there and if you’re not there, it’s just not much fun watching.”

He’ll get a sideline view of the game this weekend -- and said he’ll have “a lot” of friends and family members in attendance. There is a difference between this year’s cheering section and the one that attended the game the first time Richt led the Bulldogs to Atlanta in 2002.

He’s helping them gain access to tickets, but they have to purchase the tickets themselves.

“We’ll buy a few, but mostly whoever we’re allowed to use them, they’re paying for them themselves. I think the first time around I decided I was going to splurge, but that’s a lot of money,” Richt said with a grin.