Georgia football: Should the Bulldogs be No. 1 in the country?
I’m awfully tempted to take the bait.
Yes, the Georgia offense is absolutely clicking — for now, at least. Yes, its defense is performing at an elite level — again, for now, at least.
The Dawgs are coming off a 62-0 win over Vanderbilt on Saturday, after all, the most points they’ve scored against an SEC opponent in nearly 7 years and their 1st shutout win since 2019. It also tied for the 3rd-biggest shutout in the 89-year history of the SEC. It all adds up to them outscoring their past 3 opponents 158-20, by the way.
So, yes, there’s certainly a case to at least consider Georgia as the No. 1 team in the country ahead of Alabama. And as I mentioned, I’m very tempted to make that case 4 games into the season.
But a realist would say that it’s still too early to make that assessment.
Granted, the Clemson game was a tug-of-war, but Dabo Swinney’s team, sans Trevor Lawrence and a host of other players, struggled to beat Georgia Tech on Sept. 18 and just lost to NC State on Saturday. Safe to say that the shine is off that opening night win as DJ Uiagalelei and company look flat-out ordinary. UAB could take a few teams in the bottom half of the SEC to the mat and are likely to win the Conference-USA once more, but that’s a game the Bulldogs win 10 out of 10 times. South Carolina, under Shane Beamer, is still a few years from challenging for the top half of the conference. Vanderbilt … well, Clark Lea has a little work to do.
But as the calendar switches to October, we’ll get a clear glimpse of what this Georgia team is all about. And at the end of the day, there’s no reason the Dawgs shouldn’t make it through this stretch 8-0.
Should we be declaring them the best team in the country right now, though?
Well, they’re making it hard not to do so. This group just seems a little different from previous Bulldog teams, one where just about everything is clicking at the same time. And that’s with some key players still banged up.
Let’s be honest. All 4 of the Dawgs’ wins were against teams they should have beaten in the first place. Winning the games you should win is half the battle, correct?
But it’s how they’ve looked doing it that has been impressive.
It’s hard to think of a better defense that’s playing the way Georgia is right now, thanks in part to players like Jordan Davis and “next man up” Jalen Carter. Offensively, the running game continues to be gradually improving. In the passing game, Brock Bowers continues to be an absolute revelation in his freshman year.
As for Alabama, it routed Miami and Mercer before holding on for a win against Florida at The Swamp. So, understandably, there are some murmurings that there are some soft spots in the normally impenetrable Crimson Tide armor. Then again, they whipped Southern Miss, as they well should have.
But back to the Dawgs, who have flexed their muscle before launching into the heart of the SEC schedule. It starts with Arkansas on Saturday in a game that, rest assured, won’t resemble the 37-10 victory the Dawgs played the Razorbacks to in 2020. (Just ask Texas and Texas A&M how tough Sam Pittman’s squad is.) Then there’s the Cocktail Party against Florida to end the month on Oct. 30, a win that could all but seal the SEC East for the Dawgs.
Knowing Kirby Smart, though, the only number that matters will be the numbers that are on the scoreboard at the end of the game. Smart graduated from the Nick Saban Academy of avoiding “rat poison” and outside distractions, someone who couldn’t care less whether the Dawgs are No. 1 or No. 21 at this point.
Will that stop the discussion about whether Georgia deserves to be at the top of the rankings? Nope. But, if you’re in that camp, I certainly wouldn’t blame you right about now.