Power Ranking Georgia Bulldogs' 2014 Schedule from Easiest to Toughest
In order for the Georgia Bulldogs to have a successful 2014 season, a few things will have to go right for them.
The first is the players all have to come together and play as one. Guys like Todd Gurley and Ramik Wilson will have to be leaders and get everyone on the same page.
Another thing is health. Head coach Mark Richt is hoping his players can stay relatively healthy, unlike last season where he would lose starter after starter on a regular basis.
But the most important thing that has to go right for them is the play of the schedule. The Bulldogs need to start strong and finish stronger if they want to play in the SEC title game. And while the Bulldogs’ 2014 schedule is not the hardest in all of college football, it’s certainly not the easiest, especially when they start the season against two teams from South Carolina.
Here’s a power ranking of the Bulldogs’ 2014 schedule.
No. 12: Vs. Charleston Southern
The Bulldogs will face Charleston Southern in November right in between the Auburn and the Georgia Tech games.
The Bulldogs should have no issues taking care of the Bucs, but Charleston Southern is coming off its best season to date as it finished with a 10-3 record and an appearance in the playoffs.
The Bucs run a spread offense, and they are led by running back Christian Reyes, who ran for over 1,200 yards last year. If the Bulldogs contain him, they could end the game before halftime.
No. 11: Vs. Troy
This is another game that can be called a tuneup contest. The Bulldogs take on Troy before getting into the meat of their SEC schedule.
Again, the Bulldogs should have no problems scoring against a team that gave up 35 points per game last year. Add that along with the Trojans likely starting a freshman at quarterback, and this game could be a total blowout before the end of the fourth quarter.
No. 10: At Kentucky
It looks like it will be awhile before the Kentucky Wildcats will be a contender for the SEC East. Under head coach Mark Stoops, the Wildcats finished with a 2-10 record last year, and based on the talent they have coming back this season, it looks like they could have the same results this year.
Alvin Dupree is a nice piece, as he is one of the better defensive ends in the conference. But outside of Dupree there is not a lot of talent on the roster, and the Bulldogs should come away with an easy road win.
No. 9: At Arkansas
Like Kentucky, Arkansas had a tough first season under its new head coach, finishing with a 3-9 record. But Bret Bielema has pieces to work with and should be able to improve this season.
That said, the Bulldogs should not and will not be scared of the Razorbacks because they are not ready for the big show yet. Arkansas will have some good wins, but it has some major work to do if it wants to earn its first bowl appearance in three seasons.
No. 8: Vs. Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt hiring Derek Mason to be the new head coach is a great move for the program as it looks to replace James Franklin, who is now the head coach of Penn State.
However, he will get a rude awakening real quick because the speed and strength of the players of the SEC is a lot different than what he’s used to seeing in the Pac-12.
Plus, the Bulldogs are more than mad about losing to Vandy last year on the road, which was caused by the Bulldogs not taking care of the football when they needed to. With this being a home game for UGA, it should have a convincing win before it hits the road for a month.
No. 7: Vs. Georgia Tech
Despite being one of the Bulldogs' biggest rivals, the Yellow Jackets have not had much luck beating Georgia, with the last time coming in 2008.
Last year’s game came down to the wire, but the Bulldogs came away with a 34-31 win in overtime. With many players gone from last year’s team, the Yellow Jackets will have a hard time making it to the top of the ACC Coastal Division.
And until they prove otherwise, they will have a hard time defeating a more deep and talented Bulldogs squad.
No. 6: Vs. Tennessee
This is an interesting game, because Tennessee is always a tough matchup for the Bulldogs no matter what the team’s records show.
But when push comes to shove, the Bulldogs are a better team, and with this game being at Sanford Stadium, they should have no problem coming away with a win.
That said, the Vols will be an improved team from what they were last season and are a dark horse to win the SEC East if they get off on the right foot. This is a game where the Bulldogs have to start fast and end faster to give UT no chance of a possibility of winning.
No. 5: Vs. Florida
The Gators had a horrible 2013 season, and head coach Will Muschamp is looking for his team to bounce back in a huge way.
They have the talent to do so and with a new offensive coordinator in Kurt Roper, the Gators should win more than four games in 2014.
This game is always a very difficult one for the Bulldogs. However, they have won the last three meetings against Florida in Jacksonville. So the Bulldogs won’t be intimidated by the atmosphere like they have been in the past. However, the Gators are looking for redemption, and this could be another game that comes down to one play.
No. 4: At Missouri
The game against the defending SEC East champs will be one of the most difficult roads games for the Bulldogs.
The Tigers gave the Bulldogs fits the last two years, and there is no reason it won’t be the same in 2014 despite Missouri not having Kony Ealy or Michael Sam.
Quarterback Maty Mauk will be the key to the Tigers' success and if he gets going, it will be hard for the Tigers to be stopped.
With this game being in mid-October, this will be a must-win for the Bulldogs in order for them to stay in the SEC East race.
No. 3: Vs. Auburn
Auburn shocked the world last year with its amazing run to the national title game. And there is no reason the defending SEC champs can’t get back there again, especially with Nick Marshall back under center.
The good thing for the Bulldogs is they will play the Tigers at Sanford Stadium after playing at Jordan-Hare the last two seasons.
This is the final SEC game of the year for the Bulldogs, and this could mean a shot of clinching the SEC East title if everything goes right for them at the start of the season. Based on what happened last year, the Bulldogs will look for some revenge against one of their oldest rivals.
No. 2: Vs. Clemson
The Bulldogs' toughest home game will be the opener when they face Clemson. The Tigers did lose two key players in Taj Boyd and Sammy Watkins, but head coach Dabo Swinney will have his players prepared for a war, which is why the Tigers will be in the hunt for the ACC title this season.
The Bulldogs don’t need to win this game to keep their goals alive. But it would be nice to start off the season with a win against a Top 25 opponent.
No. 1: At South Carolina
It would also be nice for the Bulldogs to beat South Carolina two seasons in a row, and they have a chance to do it this year when the Bulldogs travel to Columbia in the second game of the season.
The Gamecocks did lose Jadeveon Clowney and Connor Shaw, but Mike Davis and Dylan Thompson can get the job done, as well as a talented and experienced roster.
This game doesn’t determine the SEC East because of the game being so early in the season, but the winner of this game will have a ton of momentum as it gets into the thick of its SEC schedule.