The Georgia Bulldogs got a much-needed week off, and they now prepare for the second leg of the 2013 season.
Up next for the Bulldogs is the Florida Gators, a team that came out strong at the start of the season but has cooled off thanks to a season-ending injury to starting quarterback Jeff Driskel.
In order for the Bulldogs to finish the season strong, they have to beat the Gators, which won’t be an easy task. Not only that, the Bulldogs have to beat a surging Auburn team as well as their rival Georgia Tech at the end of the year.
If the Bulldogs play like they did at the start of the season, winning the last five games is doable. But if they play like they did against Vanderbilt, it could be another year where Bulldogs fans will be ripping their hair out.
Here’s a look at the best- and worst-case scenarios for the Bulldogs’ last five games.
It’s obvious that the best-case scenario for the Bulldogs is to win out and finish the regular season with a 9-3 overall record (6-2 in the SEC). Again, it starts with a win against Florida and Foxsports.com’s Clay Travis has reported the Bulldogs are an early favorite in the contest.
Mizzou opens -12 vs. Tennessee, Georgia -2.5 vs. Florida, FSU already out to -22.5 vs. Miami— Clay Travis (@ClayTravisBGID) October 27, 2013
The Bulldogs got great news last week when Todd Gurley returned to practice. Here’s what Murray told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about how Gurley looked in practice.
"Beautiful as always. I was looking at him and I was like, 'goodness, gracious that dude is huge.' I mean he's a pretty sucker to look at. He looked good. He did everything. Y'all see us when we do run polish. He did every rep with me and he looked good. I asked him how he felt and he said he feels good. We've got another two weeks so he'll be full go by Florida hopefully. It's definitely great to have him back."
Georgia should have no problems with Appalachian State the following week, and that game should be a good tuneup before they face Auburn.
With Gurley back in the lineup, the offense should be on point and be able to hang with the Tigers. If that’s the case, the Bulldogs should come away with the win just like they did against South Carolina and LSU.
Kentucky should give the Bulldogs no issues if Georgia plays mistake-free football, and Georgia Tech has had issues beating their rivals since Mark Richt has been at the helm. With the offense the Bulldogs posses, they should be able to jump on the Yellow Jackets early and often, which should lead to another easy win.
Another thing to watch is the defense and special teams. The one thing fans have to hope for is both of these things were focused on during the bye week. The best-case scenario for the defense is they can create turnovers and give the offenses short fields to score even more points. The same goes for the special teams. They need to limit the mistakes and give the offense and defense opportunities to make plays.
The worst-case scenario for Georgia is it only wins two of its last five games of the season. That would be possible if the Bulldogs lose to Florida on Saturday, Auburn and Georgia Tech at the end of the year.
Factors that would play into that skid would start with Gurley. If he is not at 100 percent or for some reason can’t play in all five games, the offense will have issues with making explosive plays and would have to be more conservative.
Another factor would be the special teams. The inconsistent play on special teams cost them against Vanderbilt and it has been an ongoing issue all season. If it doesn’t improve, it will cost them again against the Gators, Tigers and Yellow Jackets.
The defense has been an issue all year, and there is no telling if they can improve. There has been only one time where the unit has given up less than 30 points and that was against North Texas. The worst-case scenario for the defense is they continue to struggle in the secondary and not get the turnovers they need to give the offense more opportunities to score. If that happens, it will be a long five weeks for the Bulldogs.