NCAA upholds Todd Gurley's suspension

UGA running back is set to return against Auburn (©GettyImages)

This isn't surprising news, but we'll go ahead and put it out there anyway: the NCAA decided to uphold its four-game suspension of UGA running back Todd Gurley.

The original ruling stands after the university tried to appeal the suspension of its junior star who was accused of being paid more than $3,000 for signing autographs the last two seasons.

Gurley admitted to violating the NCAA rules and had already missed two games, against Missouri and Arkansas. He will be asked to sit out two more games, a crucial matchup this weekend against Florida and a less-noteworthy SEC East matchup with Kentucky.

If Gurley repays a portion of the money he received to a charity of his choice and also completes 40 hours of community service, he will be reinstated for No. 11 Georgia's heavyweight tilt with No. 3 Auburn on Nov. 15.

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Heisman hopes grounded

The elongated suspension officially ruins Gurley's chance at the Heisman Trophy, the award given to the most valuable college football player in any season. The talented running back was considered by many to be the front runner for the award before he was taken off the field for the autograph allegations.

That doesn't mean he can't pull out a noteworthy season though.

Gurley has 773 yards with eight touchdowns, while averaging 8.2 yards per carry. At his current rate of production, he could surpass his personal-best season of 1,385 yards during his freshman year.

More importantly, his team is in the hunt for college football's inaugural playoff. While Georgia suffered a disappointing loss to South Carolina earlier in the year, the Bulldogs would be a shoo-in if they run the table and go on to win the Southeastern Conference Championship in December.

Georgia is currently the favorite to win the SEC East, as one of only two teams in the division that still have only one-loss. The Bulldogs hold the tiebreaker over second-place Missouri due to their 34-0 head-to-head win over the Tigers.

Trust in Chubb

While Gurley remains on the bench, the Bulldogs will have to win two important games.

Both Florida and Kentucky are in the SEC East. The Gators, in particular, are a rivalry match up that is often close, though the Bulldogs have won three straight.

If Georgia is to remain undefeated while Gurley rests, it will be up to freshman running back Nick Chubb to continue carrying the load.

That's no small responsibility, but the newcomer is also no ordinary runner. The 5-foot-10, 230 pound bowling ball has carried 99 times for 569 yards this year, adding five touchdowns and proving up to the task of carrying Georgia's hopes while its superstar player waits on the bench.

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