Most Important Storyline: Getting Back the Mojo
Georgia has the talent to be a contender for the College Football Playoff, it just has to come together.
It will in 2014.
Todd Gurley leads a deep and talented running back corps that will provide a nice insurance policy for Gurley if he gets banged up again. Michael Bennett and Chris Conley are potential All-SEC candidates at wide receiver, the Bulldogs should get back Malcolm Mitchell and Justin Scott-Wesley sooner rather than later and new quarterback Hutson Mason looked sharp in the offseason and could get the keys to a more uptempo offense.
Defensively, there's no shortage of talent in Athens. The problem was coaching, and Georgia solved the problem by hiring former Florida State defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt—a teacher by trade. The front seven is loaded, and despite the unexpected departures of Josh Harvey-Clemons and Tray Matthews, there is experience on the back end with corner Damian Swann and safeties Corey Moore and Quincy Mauger.
Biggest Question Mark: The Secondary
That secondary will get a boost from the move of J.J. Green to safety, the signing of junior college corner Shattle Fenteng and the presence of plenty of options including safety Aaron Davis, versatile Sheldon Dawson, corner Devin Bowman and "star" Dominick Sanders.
There are options there for Pruitt, and, considering Pruitt has national title rings from the last three seasons on his hand, hasn't he earned the benefit of the doubt?
Georgia's secondary looked like it was doing aerobics prior to the snap more times than not last year trying to get on the same page. Pruitt was brought in to be a teacher and to simplify, as he has done at his previous stops.
He'll do it again in 2014.
Toughest Game: vs. Florida on Nov. 1 in Jacksonville, Florida
It may not be for the division title when toe meets leather, but the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party in Jacksonville will be the game that decides the winner of the SEC East. Georgia is riding a three-game winning streak over the Gators, and it'd help out Florida head coach Will Muschamp's job security if he could finally take down his alma mater in this heated rivalry.
Both teams have a bye week to prepare for it, so expect them to be refreshed, healthy and ready for the battle on the "First Coast."
MVP: Running back Todd Gurley
When healthy, Gurley is the most complete running back in the country. At 6'1", 226 pounds, he has the size to be a force between the tackles, the moves of a changeup back in space and legitimate track star speed when he gets into the open field. He's not only a threat as a running back, but provides Mason a nice safety valve as a receiver out of the backfield and understands pass protection.
If Georgia is going to be successful, Gurley will have to be successful. He will be a star in 2014 and could find his way to New York City in early December as a Heisman Trophy finalist.
Prediction: 12-0 (8-0 SEC), SEC East Champs, SEC Champs, Sugar Bowl Champs, National Runner-Up
Georgia will finally get over the hump and claim its first SEC title since 2005. It will get by Auburn in mid-November in Athens, and then beat the Tigers again in the SEC Championship Game to claim the SEC crown and the No. 1 spot in the College Football Playoff. They'll top No. 4 seed UCLA in the Sugar Bowl before falling to No. 2 Oklahoma (who will top No. 3 Florida State in the Rose Bowl) in the College Football Playoff National Championship.
Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer for Bleacher Report. Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. All stats are courtesy of CFBStats.com, and all recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports.