At the end of the 2007 season the hottest and possibly best team in the nation was the Georgia Bulldogs, Georgia who had just blasted previously undefeated Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl was now getting ready for the '08 season. Since that off season the Dawgs have not been the same the signs of a huge program meltdown first came in the '08 Georgia-Alabama game, but were not fully realized until now.
After the latest train wreck of a season in which Georgia finished a horrific 6-7 Mark Richt's seat is blazing hot and the football program in a whole is backed up against the wall. Now comes the make or beak season for Richt and company if another terrible season happens Richt will be gone. The question is not what will it take to get Richt canned, but what it will take to save him.
The first game of the 2011 season starts off with a bang on the national level in one of the biggest and best regular season games of the year. Boise State finished 12-1 last year with a 26-3 win over Utah in the Las Vegas Bowl. The Broncos lost some of their fire power but still are projected to be a preseason top 5 team and are expected to compete once again for the BCS Crown.
These two teams only met once before in 2005 in Athens. Boise came in withe some hype and Georgia with questions. Georgia answered those questions with a 48-13 blasting over the Broncos then later a SEC Championship.
Boise has beat some top teams before such as Oklahoma, TCU and Virginia Tech, but to be considered truly elite, they have to take out an SEC team. This is their chance to shut up all the SEC fans who bash Boise. This is also Georgia's chance to get back on the map of college football relevance on the national stage.
Georgia 33 Boise State 24
Georgia 1-0 (0-0)
Carolina won the East last year
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the 2010 season was the Gamcocks of South Carolina winning the Eastern division. Granted Georgia, Florida and Tennessee were all in down years, it was still surprising. The Gamecocks finished the regular season at 9-3 before getting blasted by Auburn in the SEC title game.
While history shows that Georgia completely dominates the series the past 10 years have been low-scoring, close games. Every three or four years the Gamecocks have been able to get the better of the Bulldogs. Last year, South Carolina with a little help by the butter fingers of Ealey and King, the Gamecocks edged the Dawgs 17-6. The last time South Carolina won in Athens was 2007 ironically during one of Mark Richt's best seasons.
The Gamecocks were able to keep Aaron Murray and the Bulldog offense off the field with a surprise called Lattimore. The Gamecock running back ripped Georgia's defense and consumed lots of time. The South Carolina defense gave the young Murray problems and Ealey and King could not hold onto the ball in the red zone.
While South Carolina's defense gave Murray fits last year, Murray has matured and has become a better quaterback. Murray is quite possibly a dark horse candidate for the Heisman and is easily the best quaterback in the SEC. With a matured Murray and being in the second year of the Grantham defense Georgia will get by the Gamecocks.
Georgia 16 South Carolina 7
Georgia 2-0 (1-0)
The Chanticleers finished 6-6 in the Big South losing to teams like Stony Brook and Richmond. This should be no contest and a tune up for the road trip to Oxford. And no, I have no idea what a Chanticleer is so don't ask.
Georgia 47 Coastal Carolina 10
Georgia 3-0 (1-0)
You want to know how bad the Rebels were last year? They finished 4-8 and lost to Vanderbilt by 14—a team the Dawgs beat 43-0. Yes, I still call Ole Miss the Rebels because the Black Bears just sound odd.
Georgia 37 Ole' Miss 13
Georgia 4-0 (2-0)
Last year, the Bulldogs from Starksville humiliated the Dawgs. The Bulldogs were leading the Dawgs 24-6 at a point before the Dawgs finally scored a touchdown. Like the South Carolina game, the Dawgs could not hold onto the ball; while there were only two Dawg turnovers, they were at the worst times.
Dan Mullen has done a great job at Mississippi State and should be highly considered for the HC job in Athens if Richt can't get enough wins this year or win the East. The quaterback Chris Relf tore the Dawgs up with 135 yards passing and almost 100 yards rushing. He may also be a dark horse in the Heisman race this year.
This game will be a tough fought one and will come down to who has the ball last, the Dawgs get the nod this time for revenge and home field.
Georgia 23 Mississippi State 14
Georgia 5-0 (3-0)
Tennessee was truly bad last or at least for the first half of the season. In 2010, the Vols went into Athens and got blasted out 41-14. The second half had some wins, but none that stand out to anyone as a good win other than the 24-14 win over Kentucky. The Vols also should have had a win over North Carolina, but the refs took that aways.
Whether or not the Vols got better this year or not remains to be seen. They lost some players which will certainly hurt them but ended on a good note for the regular season. Two things should be expected: one for Georgia to struggle at certain times and two for Georgia to lose. Under Richt, the Dawgs seemed to lose games they shouldn't; this will be one of them costing them a perfect season.
Tennessee 27 Georgia 21
Georgia 5-1 (3-1)
The Dawgs shut out Vandy last year in dominating fashion. After losing their perfect season to the Vols, the Dawgs will be angry and take it out in Nashville.
Georgia 45 Vanderbilt 14
Georgia 6-1 (4-1)
Even with a down year last year, the Gators did something they have done the past 20 years—break the Dawgs heart. For some unknown reason, Florida has dominated the series since 1990. Now before that, Georgia was dominating every decade pretty much. Maybe it's a curse or the ultimate dose of Karma, whatever it is, the Dawgs are tired of it.
If there was a win Richt needed more to keep his job The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party is it. Florida won on a Aaron Murray OT interception. A interception that Murray still regrets throwing.Aaron has put all the blame on him and wants redemption. Brantley has shown to be an overrated quaterback and bound to collapse. The Gators lost Strong to Louisville, and even though they got Weis, the Gators will still hurt on defense.
Murray will find the weaknesses and tear them open. The game will be close, but this will be Murray's day;he's bound to have one.
Georgia 38 Florida 28
Georgia 7-1 (5-1)
Let me give you a few reasons why Georgia will win, Hawaii put 59 on the Aggies, Utah State beat them 41-20, Boise beat them by 59 and UTEP beat the 42-16. Is that enough?
Georgia 53 New Mexico State 6
Georgia 8-1 (5-1)
Last year, Auburn's Nick Fairly completely enraged the Georgia nation and almost caused a brawl during the fourth quarter. Fairly was hitting Murray late all game and crossed the line with a spear tackle to the spine and tackle to the knee which took Murray out of the game. Oh, one more thing when one of Georgia's players went down, the Tiger fans started to boo. There are four reasons why the Dawgs will win this one.
1. Fairly is gone
2. Cam is gone
3. This is in Athens
4. The Dawgs will be angry
Georgia 42 Auburn 20
Georgia 9-1 (6-1)
Last year in Lexington with Randle Cobb, the Dawgs were leading 41-14 in the fourth quarter until a near collapse that gave every Dawg fan a heart attack. Things are different this time—no AJ Green, but not Cobb and this in Athens.
Georgia 35 Kentucky 17
Georgia 10-1 (7-1)
The Dawgs have only four games outside the state of Georgia just to point it out. This one, the Dawgs return to Atlanta to take on the hated rival Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jacket offense has given the Dawgs trouble since Paul Johnson took over, but the Dawgs are figuring it out and so is everyone else. This year for Tech will be a tough one, and the Dawgs will put the finishing touch on it with a big win.
Georgia 43 Georgia Tech 31
Georgia 11-1 (7-1)
Last year was the worse year for Georgia in 14 years, and it has put Richt on the hot seat and to the brink. Richt needs to find magic once more, and with the talent and the easy schedule the Richt will do it. Will Georgia go 11-1 or even 12-0? Maybe it's highly possible, or they could go 8-4 or even 7-5. This is the breaking point. How will Richt and the Dawgs respond? We will find out September 3rd, 2011 at 8 pm.
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