SEC subplots: Will this finally be Georgia’s championship year?
SDS kicks off a series looking in-depth at teams and their biggest subplots heading into 2013. Up next: Georgia.
- Mississippi State
- Ole Miss
- South Carolina
- Texas A&M
1. Will this be Georgia’s year?
Despite top recruiting classes and putting numerous players in the NFL year after year, Georgia has yet to win a national championship in the BCS era. In fact, Georgia has more players ranked in the NFL’s top 100 than any other SEC team. That’s altogether impressive and frustrating. But this could be Mark Richt’s best chance yet. Georgia boasts arguably the most explosive offense in the country, and they’re talented, but inexperienced, on defense. Every year we ask ourselves whether this will be UGA’s year. The Dawgs were five painful yards away in 2012.
2. Mr. Murray
‘Can’t win the big one’ has unfairly been Aaron Murray’s tagline over the years. He’s 4-10 against ranked opponents, but it’s not all his fault. Murray will rewrite the Georgia and SEC record book for passing stats, and the only thing he lacks is a championship. That’s why he returned for his senior season, not for a Heisman Trophy. He can put to bed all the naysayers in 2013, along with becoming one of the top quarterbacks to ever filter through the golden age of the SEC.
One of the biggest subplots to watch unfold for 2013 is the Bulldogs’ young defense. With only three returning starters in DE Garrison Smith, LB Amarlo Herrera and CB Damian Swann, there’s no big-named players and no egos. I happen to think this group can perform just as well or better as last season’s NFL-filled defense. Remember, UGA finished 12th in the SEC in run defense. Hard to believe isn’t it? To win championships that can’t happen, but I remain in the minority thinking this inexperienced unit can gel well enough to make a serious championship run.
4. Nasty backfield
Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall are like thunder and lightning. Once you get tired of Gurley bullying defenses around, Marshall comes in and attacks the edges, ready to take it 90 yards. This is the nastiest running back duo in college football, and they should be better in 2013. Gurley is the best back in college football, while Marshall should be the most improved back with more touches coming his way. Step aside Alabama, running back U has returned to Georgia.
SDS takeaway: We’ll know in the first two weeks what Georgia’s truly made of. With a road trip to Clemson and a date against South Carolina, the will of an unproven defense will be tested. Historically, UGA hasn’t fared too well against ranked opponents to start the season, but they have to come right out of the gates firing on all cylinders for 2013. Despite a tougher schedule, I still like Georgia in the East.
Photo Credit: Douglas Jones-USA TODAY Sports
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