Reasons Georgia Has a Legitimate BCS Title Chance and What Will Happen
Each year, many college football fans think it's their year. This year, it looks like UGA fans have a real reason to believe.
In 2008, Georgia was ranked No. 1 and was expected to win a National Championship for the first time since 1980. As we know, 2008 ended in a "disappointing" 10-win season with losses to Alabama, Florida, and Georgia Tech.
Georgia ended the year with a 24-12 win over Michigan St. in the Capital One Bowl. With that win, UGA saw the losses of Matthew Stafford, Knowshon Moreno, and Mohamed Massaquoi. That was supposed to be their year.
Since 2008, UGA posted season win/losses as follows: 2009 8-5, 2010 6-7, and last year 10-4. There haven't been high expectations for four years in Athens.
But now, the expectations are high and there are coaches, players, and hard work to back it up. As the year goes on, we will see that this is UGA's year.
The SEC has won the BCS National Championship for six straight seasons. Where have the other 11 conferences been?
Last year, Alabama's defense controlled the game and won a rematch 21-0 over the Bayou Bengals.
In 2006, Florida beat Big Ten's Ohio State 41-14.
In 2007, LSU took down Ohio State again 38-24.
In 2008, Florida out-dueled the Big 12's Oklahoma 24-14.
In 2009, Alabama beat the Big 12's Texas Longhorns 37-21.
In 2010, Auburn beat Oregon's powerful offense 22-19.
This year, there's no reason to believe it won't be another SEC team that wins the National Title.
An easy schedule...easy for who?
An easy schedule for teams like Alabama, LSU, Georgia, or Arkansas? Or an easy schedule for Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, or Tennessee?
In the SEC, there is no such thing as an "easy" game or schedule. However, when UGA misses out on regular season games with LSU, Alabama, and Arkansas, it can be looked at as easy.
In 2008, Georgia played eight games vs. coaches that had won national titles. And, it had to face Alabama, LSU, and the eventual National Champion, Florida that year.
When UGA hired Todd Grantham as their defensive coordinator, a change was on the way. "Defense wins championships" and Grantham knows how to build a defense.
In 2008, UGA gave up 41 points to Alabama, 38 points to LSU, 49 points to Florida, 38 points to Kentucky, and 45 points to Georgia Tech.
Last year, during Georgia's 10-game winning streak, only two teams scored 20 or more points. Vanderbilt put up 28 points and Florida scored 20.
The importance of a potent defense and its affect on the W-L columns are proven each year. This year, Georgia returns nearly their entire defense from last year's No. 5 overall defense.
This includes top players John Jenkins, Kwame Geathers, Cornelius Washington, Alec Ogletree, Jarvis Jones, Sanders Commings, Branden Smith, Shawn Williams, and Bacarri Rambo.
Aaron Murray, a legitimate Heisman Trophy Candidate and all-time season record holder for most touchdowns in a season, returns for his third year as a starter.
Not only has Aaron Murray been the solid starter for Georgia each year he has played, he continues to work on becoming better. According to Mark Richt, nobody works harder in the film room studying to become better each week.
This year, Murray has a more experienced wide-receiver group than last year. Malcolm Mitchell (when he returns to full offense), Chris Conley, and Michael Bennett will all have a year under their belt. Seniors Tavarres King and Marlon Brown are each expected to have huge years also.
The Georgia running back situation may have seemed a bit shaky after Isaiah Crowell's dismissal. However, according to practice reports, newcomers Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley have looked very impressive early on.
When this offense gets running on all cylinders, it's going to give defenses fits they won't be able to handle.
What Will Happen Each Regular Season Game?
Here's a quick breakdown of each game and the main reason(s) Georgia will run the table:
Sept. 1 vs. Buffalo: No disrespect towards Buffalo, but they just aren't in the same league as UGA is right now. UGA 45, Buffalo 10
Sept. 8 at Missouri: Welcome to the SEC Missouri. Yes, you have a good quarterback and spread offense. Sorry, you don't have an NFL-ready defense. UGA 31, Missouri 17
Sept 15 vs. Florida Atlantic: See Buffalo above. UGA 55, Florida Atlantic 13
Sept. 22 vs Vanderbilt: This is UGA's first SEC home game and with wins above it will likely be ranked between third and fifth in the nation. UGA's defense and offense will be running on all cylinders by now and both Marshall and Gurley will be running amok on defenses. UGA 35, Vanderbilt 17
Sept. 29 vs. Tennessee: Tennessee's Tyler Bray seems to have a hard time staying out of off-field trouble. He's going to have even more trouble keeping Jarvis Jones out of his face. With no threatening running game, this could get ugly for Tennessee. UGA 38, Tennesee 14
Oct. 6 at South Carolina: It doesn't matter which year it is or who the better team is supposed to be, this game is ALWAYS close. This year won't be any different. The only difference is that UGA has a stout run-defense now and Alshon Jeffery is gone. And also, South Carolina's defensive coordinator is new. This will be a defensive battle. UGA 21, USC 17
Oct. 13 A well-earned week off with a probable ranking of 2nd or 3rd in the nation,.
Oct. 20 at Kentucky: Kentucky seems to make UGA struggle with games it shouldn't. This is a game I expect UGA's defense to smother the Wildcats struggling offense. UGA 28, Kentucky 13
Oct 27 vs Florida (at Jacksonville): This game is unpredictable each year with an understanding that defense wins championships, but you still need an offense. Florida lost Demps and Rainey last year and who is their starting quarterback? Well, Florida's not sure yet either. UGA 31, Florida 21
Nov. 3 vs Mississippi: Ole Miss seems to be in a rebuilding (not reloading) year again. UGA has too much talent and just out-matches them on offense and defense. UGA 35, Ole Miss 14
Nov. 10 at Auburn: Who is Auburn's starting quarterback this year? Nobody knows yet. Who is their go-to receiver from that quarterback? Point is, you need an established QB in this league to compete. UGA 24, Auburn 17
Nov. 17 vs. Georgia Southern: Georgia Southern is a good football team. They aren't a good enough team for SEC play. UGA will be able to give their starters a break in this one to get ready for Georgia Tech. UGA 52, Georgia Southern 10
Nov. 24 vs Georgia Tech: Georgia Tech's triple-option will be getting stuffed by a well-rested Georgia defense. And Georgia Tech's defense, meet Aaron Murray, five experienced receivers, and three reliable running backs. UGA 38, Georgia Tech 24
SEC Title Game
Last year, UGA held LSU to zero first downs for the first half of the SEC Championship game. However, a recently dismissed player formerly known as the "Honey Badger" seemed to be taking over the game right before our eyes.
Then, after not capitalizing on opportunities, UGA fell behind in the second half and could not regain their composure or their oxygen. This year, UGA has a deeper defense and a more experienced offense.
This year, LSU loses Tyrann Mathieu, Morris Claiborne, Brandon Taylor, Ron Brooks, and Derrick Bryant from the secondary. At quarterback for the Tigers is first-year starter and Georgia native Zach Mettenberger.
A first-year quarterback can be a weakness for a team no matter how good you are. This will be a hard-fought battle between #1 LSU and #3 UGA, but UGA will avenge their loss from last year. UGA 21, LSU 20.
UGA vs. USC (from California)
This matchup would have been interesting if the Rose Bowl had chosen UGA to play USC in the 2007 season.
However, UGA went on to play Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl and had Colt Brennan looking at the Super Dome ceiling more often than not. This year, Georgia will get their shot at the "other USC" from Southern California.
What a game this will be as Matt Barkley and Aaron Murray both get their shot to prove who the best quarterback in the nation is.
The real question and answer will be, who has the best defense, because "defense wins championships!"
Georgia has a championship defense and their offense isn't too bad either. UGA 35, USC 28.
Reason to believe...