I know in my season projection I had the Bulldogs going 10-2, but I do believe it is very possible for them to go undefeated in the regular season. Here are some of the reasons why I believe it could happen:
Last year UGA decided to start the season off on the road against a higher ranked team. While I appreciate the effort to play good competition in order to boost our BCS chances, losing the first game kind of negates that. This year things are a little different. We start the season with a good warm up game. Would I like to be playing someone better? Perhaps, but I will gladly take a win in the first game of the year.
9. Element of surprise.
Clearly this year the Bulldogs are not coming out of the gates with a target on their back. After a sub par year in 2009, the Bulldogs will have a chance to fly in under the radar. Yes, I know in college football you have a week (sometimes two weeks) to prepare for a team. However, some teams will see Alabama or Florida on the schedule for the next week and start looking ahead. Also, some teams might think this is last year and not give the Dawgs any respect. For proof, just take a look at this analysis of why Kentucky even thinks they can beat us . Not going to happen, buddy.
8. SEC West schedule.
What is the easiest way to not lose to the defending National Champion and #1 ranked team? That’s easy….don’t play them. Not only are we fortunate to not have Alabama on the schedule, LSU is not on it either. If LSU were not on the Bulldogs schedule last season they would have been one game closer to a ten win season with nine. Thankfully Georgia did not have Alabama on the schedule or they may have finished the regular season at 6-6.
7. Road Schedule.
We have the benefit of not playing a single top 25 team on the road. Granted it is always tough to play South Carolina and Auburn on the road. However, both teams are not projected to set the world on fire this year. I am not saying they are going to be easy wins, but at least we don’t have to go to Arkansas, Georgia Tech, or Florida (even though Jacksonville can sometimes feel like the Swamp). Perhaps I should just say strength of schedule in general, not just road schedule.
6. Joe Cox.
Wait, he does not play for Georgia anymore. Exactly. UGA had a turnover margin of -16 last season. Granted the defense not forcing many turnovers was a contributing factor to that statistic. However, the 15 interceptions Cox threw was a bigger factor. Hopefully Aaron Murray can do a better job of taking care of the ball along with the team of Georgia running backs.
That is right, Florida is one of the reasons we can go undefeated. If Georgia can just get out of their minds the domination the Gators have had on them over the last decade and a half, the Bulldogs have a good shot at taking back Jacksonville. Reason number 9 might come into effect on this one. Also, Florida lost the face of the program in Tim Tebow. I know a lot of people are saying Brantley is a better passer than Tebow. But I don’t see Brantley leading the team in rushing, or just leading the team in general like Tebow did. Also, Florida lost a lot of their defense, players and coordinator Charlie Strong. Georgia will have the opportunity to run all over an inexperienced defense.
4. Georgia’s Secondary.
Yes, it is a reason we can go undefeated. It may be a little confusing considering how teams threw all over Georgia year last year. How can it help them go undefeated this year? Well here is why, Junior College transfer Jakar Hamilton and Vance Cuff. Look for these two to put a little more fear into quarterbacks’ eyes instead of the way they were licking their chops at the Dawg secondary last year.
3. Todd Grantham.
Was Willie Martinez why Georgia’s defense was so bad last year? I don’t know, but hey, something needed to change. Grantham’s new defensive is that change. His new 3-4 scheme for the Bulldogs will provide them with more aggression up front on the defensive line. And with Hamilton and Cuff locking down the secondary, we should see Georgia turn back into a team opponents struggle to score points against.
Georgia starts LT Clint Boling, LG Cordy Glenn, C Ben Jones, RG Chris Davis, RT Josh Davis, and has several quality reserves. With this experience and talent on the offensive line, if you thought Georgia ran the ball a lot and the end of last season, just wait.
1. Washaun Ealey and A.J. Green.
Once Ealey began seeing significant carries, he ran right through defenses. He averaged 5.7 yards per carry in his 125 touches. With the offensive line Georgia has in front of him look for those yards per carry to stay high and expect his number of carries to grow exponentially. To compliment the ground game there is A.J. Green stretching the defense. With his speed and hands, look for Georgia to make some big plays and for Green to stretch the field and open up holes for the running game. With this one two punch on offense, you can expect big numbers from both players.