Georgia Football: What's The Worst That Could Happen?

Will LewisCorrespondent IJune 14, 2008

It wasn't long after the University of Georgia's manhandling of the Hawaii Warriors that Dawgs fans began their campaign of having the best team in the nation.

And they were right. If there is one thing any Bulldog team has been good at, it has been harnessing momentum down the stretch.

In 2007, they did that both on and off the field, easily becoming the hottest team in the nation en route to a No. 2 ranking in the final polls. So can that momentum carry over into the 2008 season?

A short answer would be yes. When you compare the losses of players on both sides of the ball to the knowledge gained by the new starters, it makes sense to think that the man power exists to meet the Dawgs hefty expectations.

They certainly have the tools to do it: These boys know how to play (14 on offense with playing time including nine returning starters, 18 on defense with playing time including nine returning starters), they know how to play together (seven upperclassmen on offense, 14 on defense), and they know their enemies (19 members of the team were on the 2005 squad that beat LSU in that year's SEC Championship Game).

So what could go wrong with 2008?

For starters, everybody knows that the schedule is a killer. But it's not just Arizona State and Florida.

No, after their first off-week, the Dawgs will return to action playing Tennessee, Vanderbilt, at LSU, Florida in Jacksonville, at Kentucky, and at Auburn before their final break.

It is not the individual teams that Georgia has to worry about. The Bulldogs could handle any team on their schedule individually. It is the collective flow of their season that should cause fans worry.

Even if they are to survive the back-to-back gauntlet of playing LSU in Tiger Stadium and then the next weekend playing Florida in the humidity of Jacksonville, those two games could leave the Dawgs so depleted that this year's trip to Kentucky turns into a re-do of the 2006 season. That's when Kentucky left Matthew Stafford bruised and beaten to the tune of a 24-20 upset.

Believe me when I say that this year nothing is a gimme for Georgia.

Just as well history could repeat itself. It wasn't too long ago (2004, in fact) that the Dawgs were poised to win it all. With a team featuring stars such as David Greene, Odell Thurman, Thomas Davis, Reggie Brown, and David Pollack, who wouldn't expect great things? 

Unfortunately a mix of questionable coaching decisions against Tennessee and an Auburn team that wouldn't take no for an answer (and they still don't now) left the 2004 Georgia Bulldogs bowling in Tampa instead of Miami.

The fan-base managed to survive the two loss season then, but will they be able to live with a second round of blows to the stomach? 

When talking about the possible fallout of another less-than-perfect season from the dawgs, former Tennessee and Atlanta Falcons defensive lineman Will Overstreet recently made the asinine comment on a Tennessee sports radio show that, "Some people will start calling for the head of Richt like they did for Fulmer [after Tennessee's 2005 season collapse]".

Now despite the traditional fickleness of Georgia fans, come on! Overstreet honestly expects for Georgia fans to demand the job of the best coach in all of D-1 football to not have won a National Championship? Lunacy. (For anyone that would like to listen to Overstreet's segment of the radio show: )

If Georgia fails to meet expectations at the end of this season, fans will wake up sometime in January and go about their business as usual. That's it. That's what happens.

If Georgia goes through their schedule dropping three losses from a hard schedule, they try again next year. Losing to Florida? Been there done that plenty of times. Lose to Arizona State in the desert? Well at least that stupid 'Georgia doesn't ever travel' myth is laid to rest.

They've been trying for 28 years, why stop now. If the Dawgs lose in 2008, they get up and come back harder in 2009.