The One Great Season College Football Countdown continues Thursday. We'll be counting down the preseason Top 25 teams in 2010. Today's No. 22 is Georgia.
For a guy whose nine seasons as Georgia's coach have ended six times in double-digit wins, Mark Richt is inexplicably on the hot seat. Such is life in the ultra-competitive Southeastern Conference.
Richt's squad went into last year trying to recover from the departures of offensive stars Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno. This year, the Dawgs will start a new quarterback for the second straight season, but their rushing attack could prove to be one of the SEC's finest.
Returning are Washaun Ealey and Caleb King, who ran for a combined 1,300 yards and 10 touchdowns last year. They'll continue to get the carries behind a talented and veteran offensive line. Once new QB Aaron Murray gets comfortable, he'll look for A.J. Green (53 catches last year, 808 yards, 6 TDs), who will be among the finest wideouts in the country.
Defensively, a new coordinator and two new position coaches are installing a 3-4 defense that will take some getting used to. Typically, a schematic change can gradually become successful when a team eases into it's September schedule.
But with South Carolina and Arkansas on the early season docket, the Bulldogs will need to adjust in a hurry. That will be the X-factor for this team's fortunes in 2010, especially considering five defensive starters were taken in the NFL Draft. There's a lot of talent to replace.
WR A.J. Green, P Drew Butler, K Blair Walsh, OL Clint Boling
QB Joe Cox, LB Rennie Curran, DT Geno Atkins, S Reshad Jones
Why they'll win
A strong ground game gives a team a chance in every game, and Georgia's got that.
Why they'll lose
Defensively, there are holes to fill, a new scheme and no true stars.
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vs. Florida (at Jacksonville, Oct. 30), at Auburn (Nov. 13), vs. Georgia Tech (Nov. 27)
9-3 (6-2, second place SEC East)