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Georgia Football: Did Dawgs Doom National Title Hopes with Scheduling in 2013?

Oct 19, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Georgia Bulldogs head coach Mark Richt watches his team play against the Vanderbilt Commodores during the second half at Vanderbilt Stadium. The Commodores beat the Bulldogs 31-27. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports
Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports
Brian JonesContributor IOctober 22, 2013

It’s safe to say that it will take a miracle for the Georgia Bulldogs to win the SEC, let alone the national championship.

With three losses under their belts, the Bulldogs would need to win out and have a ton of improbable things happen.

It has been a hard road for Mark Richt’s group. The Bulldogs have lost a slew of players to injuries, including Todd Gurley, while facing three Top 10 teams in the first half of the season.

So did the tough schedule doom the Bulldogs from the start?

No, because the Bulldogs actually started off on the right foot despite losing a tough contest to Clemson to open the season. Georgia took out South Carolina the following week and LSU three weeks later.

Bulldogs Projected 2013 Record
ScenarioRecordBowl Eligible
Best Case8-4Yes
Most Likely7-5Yes
Melt Down6-6Yes
Via Teamrankings.com

At that time, the Bulldogs were 3-1 and ranked as high as No. 6 in the polls.

But things turned for the worse when the Bulldogs took on a gritty Tennessee team and lost Justin Scott-Wesley, Keith Marshall and Michael Bennett to injuries in the process. Scott-Wesley and Marshall were lost for the season but Bennett is expected to return. All of this happened after Todd Gurley went down with an ankle injury during the LSU game.  

After that, the Bulldogs fell to a surging Missouri club and stumbled against Vanderbilt the following week.

There are several reasons why the Bulldogs won’t be in the mix for the BCS national championship but the schedule is not one of them. Because of the wins against South Carolina and LSU, it showed the Bulldogs can play with anyone in the SEC. But the loss to Vanderbilt and Missouri also showed they have a lot or work to do in order to become contenders.

Oct 12, 2013; Athens, GA, USA; Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Markus Golden (33) hits Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray (11) as he releases the ball during the second half at Sanford Stadium. Missouri defeated Georgia 41-26. Mandatory Credit: D
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

In the two losses against Vandy and the Tigers, the Bulldogs have committed seven turnovers and have given up over 30 points while only scoring 25 points. They have lost the swagger on offense they had to start the season, and the defense has shown little to no improvement.

Now the Bulldogs have five games left and they will have their hands full with almost every team they face during that stretch.

Florida is also struggling, but when the Bulldogs and Gators play in Jacksonville, it’s always a close contest. After facing Appalachian State, the Bulldogs will travel to face Auburn, a team that got a huge win over Texas A&M. The Bulldogs will end the season with a home contest with Kentucky and a road battle with Georgia Tech.

There is no argument about the toughness of the schedule. But if the Bulldogs were as good as they were last season, especially on offense, they would not be in the position they are right now. Injuries have decimated this team, and a ton of freshmen had to play on offense and defense.

But the Bulldogs have to find a way to get back on track and finish the season strong.

If they continue to have the same problems which led to two consecutive losses, it will be a very long offseason for Richt, his coaching staff and the rest of the Bulldogs on the roster.

 

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