The expectations were high for the Georgia Bulldogs before the 2013 season began.
They weren’t the odds-on favorites to win the national title, but they were expected to be back in the SEC title game and at least be in the running for a BCS bowl game.
But based on how the season is panning out (4-3 overall record and a 3-2 conference record) the Bulldogs will need to win out and get a ton of help to even think about reaching a BCS bowl game.
So if the Bulldogs don’t reach a BCS game, is the 2013 season a bust?
Going back to last year when the Bulldogs lost to Alabama in the SEC title game, there was thought that the Bulldogs should have played in a BCS game. But Florida and the Crimson Tide were the two SEC representatives, and the Bulldogs had to take part in the Capital One Bowl.
However, with all the offensive weapons returning, including Aaron Murray and Todd Gurley, there was a chance for the Bulldogs to improve in 2013 and win the SEC title.
And things were looking that way at the start of the season when Georgia defeated South Carolina and LSU, which put the Bulldogs back in the Top 10 after not being there after the loss to Clemson. Then the injury bug hit the Bulldogs hard all season, and they have recently suffered disappointing losses to Missouri and Vanderbilt.
So, will the season be a bust if the Bulldogs don’t reach a BCS game? The answer would have to be yes.
Murray came back for his senior season because he wanted another shot at the SEC title. Now the Bulldogs are hoping for a 9-3 record, and that’s really uncertain at this point.
The defense has hurt the Bulldogs all season long. With 12 starters lost from last year, the defense was going to have its share of growing pains. But they have given up over 30 points in six of their seven games and continue to make the same mistakes when it comes to missed tackles and missed assignments.
But the one thing that has hurt the Bulldogs even more is injuries, especially on offense.
It started when Malcolm Mitchell went down with a torn ACL in the Clemson game. Then Todd Gurley injured his ankle in the LSU game. The week after, the Bulldogs lost three players, Keith Marshall, Justin Scott-Wesley and Michael Bennett, and two of those players were lost for the season. And in the game against Vanderbilt, Chris Conley injured his ankle on the last play from scrimmage.
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Injuries should never be an excuse because teams should always have the "next guy up" mentality. But when the Bulldogs were facing the Commodores, they had a second-stringer in the backfield and at both receiver spots.
That has affected Murray and the rest of the offense. They have only scored 27 points per game the last two weeks after they averaged close to 40 in the first four games.
What it comes downs to is this: Georgia is a talented team that is not playing good football right now, which is why it falls short of BCS bowls. But this has been the case the last few years. As good of a job as Richt has done with the program, he has not won an SEC title since 2005. With the way the other teams in the conference are playing, there’s no telling when the Bulldogs will get another crack at it.
This season has been tough for the Bulldogs, but they have to find a way to right the ship and finish the season strong. If they win the last five games, then they may have a shot at a BCS game.
But right now, it does not look like the Bulldogs will have that opportunity. They will have to prepare for a bowl on New Year’s Day or even New Year’s Eve.
And that can’t sit well with the Georgia faithful.