ATHENS, Ga. -- This one's for bragging rights.

The Georgia Bulldogs have several rivalry games, but only a couple have the ability to determine whether or not a season was successful or not regardless of wins and losses.

This is one of them.

With the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (7-4) annually scheduled as the Bulldogs' final game of the regular season, it puts a bow on the season and lets fans make their final evaluations.

This one is important to the fans. It's also important to first-year head coach Kirby Smart because it will determine how people perceive his first season.

"It's a large rivalry game, especially for our older fan base. The history of this rivalry is really important to a lot of people, it's important to me, it's important to this team. You can see it in the buzz they have for it," Smart said.

Smart wouldn't discuss the game's ability to determine the perception of the season as a whole; he saw it as getting into "hypotheticals."

But it's true. Win this game, and fans will nod their heads in approval and will be optimistic about the future of the Kirby Smart era, despite losses to Ole Miss, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Florida.

Lose, and the conclusion will be that the era is not off to a good start at all, despite seven wins.

Smart is not willing to discuss how the game will affect his own evaluation, but as a former player to both win and lose against Tech, he let his seniors know what the game can do to their legacy.

"We tell our seniors all the time you're remembered by what your senior class does and what your record is against Georgia Tech," Smart said. "There's a lot of people split down the line when it comes to this game. A lot of passionate energy goes into this game, on both sides of it."

Senior Greg Pyke understands that.

"As a fifth year guy here, you don't want to lose to Tech. You don't want to give them the satisfaction that for the next 365 days that they run this state," Pyke said. "I want to go out on top with a win at Sanford this weekend."

Pyke isn't a Georgia-native, but arrived to the school from Maryland having been told about the rivalry while being recruited. John Atkins grew up in Thompson, Georgia, and knew about the disdain between both programs. But, it was while he was getting recruited, when both teams came after him, when he realized just how heated the rivalry can get.

"You're always going to want to be on the winning side," Atkins said.

He saw the winning side as the Bulldogs, who lead the all-time series 65-40-5. As for the game determining the tone of the team before his senior season:

"We just got to finish the season strong," he said. "We got to run the state."