Some people blame the play on Aaron Murray. Some blame it on Mark Richt. Some people just blame it on God. Because God, that loss in the SEC Championship Game stung Georgia fans so much more than losing to Georgia Tech, because this could have been the time when the Dawgs talked about being a National Championship team (we think they would have beaten Notre Dame as easily as Alabama).

But the Dawgs are back. They are Jarvis Jones-less. They are Rambo-less. They go to Clemson and South Carolina at home on the second game – against another hated foe, Steve Spurrier. That’s the nation’s hardest first two games by an absolute mile. Something thinks they might win a National Title.

Whatever happens, it’s going to be interesting….

LAST YEAR

Despite losing – and being blown out by – South Carolina (again), the ease of Georgia’s schedule (apart from the Cocktail Party – which was a battle royale) and the difficulty of South Carolina’s ensured that the Bulldogs would go to the SEC Championship Game. They lost 32-28 in one of the greatest games college football has ever seen (Chris Fowler of ESPN College Gameday fame told our buddy Alex Ferguson that the game was one of the “five greatest he’d ever seen”), and if it wasn’t for one throw that didn’t make it, they could have beaten Alabama and gone to the National Championship Game.

OFFENSE

When Aaron Murray faced off against Alabama QB AJ McCarron, Murray outperformed McCarron 265 yards – 162. Problem for Murray was that McCarron won the game – mainly thanks to a superior running game.

Listen crappy quarterbacks don’t throw for 3,893 yards and 36 Touchdowns in 2012. True, Murray still needs to work on his game management. No, we haven’t forgotten about spiking the ball in the SEC Championship Game. He was also eaten alive by South Carolina’s defense in a 105-yard, 1 interception performance at Williams-Brice early on in the season.

Offensive-wise, we could see some worse numbers from Murray, especially if the Todd Gurley/Keith Marshall combo continue their incredible efforts of 2012 (2,144 yards and 25 TDs), but the good news for him is that he’s got his best receiver back in the underrated Michael Bennett, and Malcolm Mitchell’s going to recover from surgery in time for the season-start. Mssrs Terry, Wooten and Rumph aren’t bad back-ups, either.

DEFENSE

Against the rush, let’s face it…Jarvis Jones really wasn’t that great. But against the pass, he was one of the best pass rushers in the SEC. His play against Florida that caused Jordan Reed to fumble was downright magical. His way of dealing with quarterbacks was fantastic. Well, he’s gone. And Georgia now returns just three starters. Three.

Georgia fans are confident about DE Garrison Smith, linebackers Jordan Jenkins and Amarlo Herrera and CB Damian Swann, but the Dawgs are facing some huge holes  – particularly in the secondary,  which isn’t going to feature Jordan Harvey-Clemons for a while after the player was suspended – and most of the secondary seems to be nursing injuries. Any of that bode well against a top offense like Clemson and South Carolina’s?

A lot of people are really excited about sophomore LB James DeLoach, too. We’ll see in the first two games.

SCHEDULE

Aug 31  at Clemson

Sept 7  South Carolina 

Sept 21  North Texas       

Sept 28  LSU     

Oct 5  at Tennessee

Oct 12  Missouri  

Oct 19  at Vanderbilt  

Nov 2 Florida  

Nov 9 Appalachian State  

Nov 16 at Auburn

Nov 23 Kentucky

Nov 30 2013 at Georgia Tech

The first two games of the schedule — at Clemson and at home to South Carolina are the toughest in the country. Please…name us a team who has a harder first games. The Dawgs could well go 0-2 to start the year. After, they’ll whoop North Texas before they play LSU in one of the country’s more unpredictable features. The Dawgs should then beat Tennessee on the road, Missouri at home, and Vandy on the road (although this fixture’s gonna be close!), and the Cocktail Party’s going to be a toss-up. The Dawgs will then beat Appy State, win on the road at Auburn, hammer Kentucky and win on the road at Georgia Tech.

BOTTOM LINE: The optimist Bulldogs fan will tell you that Georgia’s offense is so great that they’ll run over Clemson, stop Clowney, and break Gators fans’ jaws en route to a SEC Championship Game and a 12-0 record, where they’ll then enact revenge (and a half!) on Alabama before going off to Pasadena to play in the Rose Bowl for all the winnings. HOWEVER, the pessimist will tell you that the Bulldogs’ secondary won’t be able to stop Boyd, Watkins and Clemson, and no-one on God’s green earth can stop Clowney. Plus they’re playing Spurrier…and the Dawgs never seem to beat Steve Spurrier. And by the way, have you SEEN Florida’s defense lately? The pessimist will tell you about a 9-3 record, and a third-placed finish in the SEC East, and gives you more reasons to fire Mark Richt (as if he needed any). For us? We just don’t know. We’ll go with 11-1, with the loss coming – you’ve guessed it – on the first game of the season (And yes, they go to the SEC Championship Game). God help us if Murray or ‘Gurshall’ get injured.

Be Sociable, Share!

Tagged with:

Filed under: AlabamaArkansasAuburnFloridaGeorgiaKentuckyLSUMississippi StatemissouriOle MissSouth CarolinaTennesseeTexas A&MVanderbilt

Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!