If there is one thing that I know about my beloved Georgia Bulldogs, it is that they play best when disrespected. If there is another thing that I know about them, it is that they tend to play below their potential when they are hyped up.
You only need to go back to 2008 to see a team spending more time reading press clippings than working on fundamentals. The end result was a preseason No. 1 team who ended the season with three losses, two to our most hated rivals, Florida and Georgia Tech.
Contrast that with teams like the 2002 team, which ended 2001 with a record of 8-4 and a bowl loss. They were ranked in the mid-teens to start the season, but ended with a SEC title and could have been in contention for the National Championship.
Historically, there are a few ways to win a National Championship. First, there is the Southern Cal method: You build a highly-ranked program, stacked with more four- and five-star players than you know what to do with, add a talented head coach and smash other teams into oblivion.
The second option is what I call the Florida and Auburn method. In this scenario, you get one or two very talented players, back them up with some above-average guys and ride them to the championship game.
The third option is to have a year where you play a lot of underclassmen. Then the next year and the following year, you are stacked with a bunch of players with a lot of experience. This allows you play at a very high level and win it all.
While we have the skill players for scenario one, we don’t tend to do well when highly-ranked, as shown above. That leaves us with option two or three.
We may have the next Hershel Walker in Isaiah Crowell, but it’s not likely that we’ll be going with option two. That leaves us with option three.
With only six senior starters and eight on the two-deep, this year’s team will be playing a LOT of freshmen and sophomores. We also have a very talented returning QB who, due to his size, will likely play all four years. Put all of that together, and what you get is a recipe for future success.
I stated in another article that our season is not lost if we start 0-2. I will further state that our future is still bright even if we lose three or four games. A 9-3 season with early losses and a quality bowl win should lead to a very bright 2012.
I believe all of the key components are in place. All we need is a little luck and a preseason ranking somewhere in the teens. If that happens, watch out.
My worst-case scenario, oddly enough, is if we win the SEC East this year and go into next season with a high ranking. If that happens, we’re doomed. We’ll have ten kids arrested and lose at least two key starters due to season-ending injury.