The Georgia Bulldogs have a positive outlook on the 2011 college football season, but there are always a few worst-case scenarios that bring it all crashing down.
In the highly competitive SEC, any slip-up whatsoever not only causes your position in the conference standings to plummet but also your standings in the recruiting rankings, which affect future performance.
Indeed, anyone of these six worst-case scenarios could lead to a frightening downward spiral. But please keep in mind that these aren't predictions. They are realistic scenarios and logical implications.
Halloween has come early this year, Bulldog fans. Boo!
Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray enters the 2011 season as the best signal-caller in the SEC.
He is one of the few who has in-game experience and performed exceptionally well as a freshman in 2010. The Bulldogs are heavily dependent on him to have an even better year if they want to make a push for the SEC East title.
But in an early game, maybe even the preseason, Murray could go down with a season-ending injury. He already gave Georgia fans a scare when he sprained his ankle playing soccer in February.
This time, it's for real. Murray is gone and the season rests on the arm of sophomore Huston Mason. That could be the difference between an SEC Championship and a losing season.
Talk about a worst-case scenario. The Georgia Bulldogs could potentially begin the season with zero wins in September.
They open the season against the always difficult Boise State Broncos and follow that up with a big SEC East matchup with defending champion South Carolina. That's a highly possible 0-2.
The third game of the season is a snoozer against Coastal Carolina, but if head coach Mark Richt can't keep his team from overlooking them, it could prove a fatal blow to most of the Bulldogs postseason hopes.
It can definitely happen. Did you see the start of the 2010 Virginia Tech Hokies?
A game in Oxford, Mississippi against the Ole Miss Rebels is always a wildcard when Houston Nutt is running the team.
If the Bulldogs are 0-3 entering the game, their first road game could turn into a disastrous end to the month of September, 0-4.
Is it just me or does every solid Georgia Bulldog running back have "-shon" in his name lately? Knowshon, Washaun...
That's the biggest strike against Caleb King.
The former Rivals 4-star running back from Norcross, Georgia has all of the tools to make the jump to the unquestioned starter in the 2011 season.
However, King could burnout under the pressure of more carries that he hasn't yet experienced. He's never carried the ball more than 114 times in a season.
While that's not exactly a small number, the Bulldogs will be handing it to him a minimum of 45 more times.
If the Rivals 5-star freshman recruit Isaiah Crowell has to shoulder a heavy load, Georgia could suffer late in the season with lapses of concentration due to his youth.
South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore is the exception, not the rule.
This is a biggie. The Georgia Bulldogs could conceivably lose to the refreshed Vanderbilt Commodores.
Vandy's new head coach James Franklin has injected some much need life into the flat-lining 'Dores. He's expected to sign the second highest rated all-purpose running back in the nation among other big splashes.
While the honeymoon is sure to end, a few early wins (paired with some early Bulldog losses) could carry the Commodores to an uplifting victory over Georgia.
The game is in Nashville—and Vanderbilt has nothing to lose. That mentality is always dangerous.
This scenario is somewhat contingent on a couple of the earlier scenarios coming true. If that happens, Georgia Bulldog head coach Mark Richt is almost sure to be ousted.
It's been a somewhat roller coaster ride with Richt in his 10-year tenure as Georgia's coach. His teams tend to underachieve when they are hyped and overachieve when they are ignored.
Sure, he won an SEC Championship in 2005, but ask former Tennessee Volunteers coach Phillip Fulmer how fast things can change in the nation's best conference.
Richt's firing would certainly hurt recruiting and some freshmen (perhaps the aforementioned Isaiah Crowell) could ask for their release since they committed to his regime.
It would be a short-term loss for the long-term gain. But this is 2011 worst-case scenarios and a midseason firing is rock bottom.
This has turned into the best rivalry in the SEC East. Except for the Georgia Bulldogs, no other team has been able to consistently compete with the Florida Gators.
That being said, Georgia hasn't won the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party since 2007, a full class of players.
While Georgia is loaded with great high school football talent, every SEC team must be able to pull from Florida if they expect to win big in the conference.
For instance, star quarterback Aaron Murray is from Tampa.
If the Bulldogs lose another game in Jacksonville to the Gators, they could lose major ground to the new, star-filled coaching staff in Gainesville, which could have implications for years to come.