2012 Recap: Georgia reached their potential in the SEC title game, going shot for shot with Alabama. That and their record whitewashed the rest of their regular season, an absolute muddle. The Dawgs played three legit teams that finished better than 6-6. They blew out Vanderbilt, were blown out by South Carolina and edged a tough win against a top five Florida team. Read into that what you will.
Offense: Bleeping loaded. This was the nation’s No. 1 yards per play unit last year. Almost all of it returns. Aaron Murray comes back, all-SEC caliber with three years of starting experience. They have, perhaps, the best tailback tandem in the country with Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall. The entire offensive line is back. Mike Bobo is calling plays. Their gravest concern is replacing Tavarres King at receiver. Expect scenes like this multiple times per game.
Defense: The 2012 defense never quite lived up to its talent level and struggled against the run. That group loses eight NFL draft picks. Georgia must replace their top three defensive tackles, four of their top five linebackers (including two first-rounders) and three of their top four guys in the secondary. Mark Richt has not quite regained control of key players getting suspended. Georgia should round into form later in the season. The trouble is three of the first four games are against Clemson, South Carolina and LSU.
Front Loaded: Last year, Georgia had one of the easiest BCS schedules. This year they play four of our Top 14 (Clemson, South Carolina, LSU and Florida) within the first eight games. Not to mention Tennessee, Missouri and Vanderbilt.
Ceiling: 12-0. Georgia has the nation’s best offense. The young talent on defense steps forward immediately to form a solid, top 25 unit. The Dawgs roll through a tough schedule toward an increasingly inevitable looking rematch with Alabama.
Floor: 7-5. The Dawgs falter early. The young defense doesn’t quite get it together. Their schedule does not offer much margin for error.
Prediction: 10-2. Georgia is one of the nation’s best teams, but gets hampered by its early season defense and a brutal schedule. Should be in the mix to make it to Atlanta. Not sure they quite get there. If only they could combine this year’s offense with next year’s defense…
25. USC Trojans 24. Miami Hurricanes 23. Northwestern Wildcats 22. Oregon State Beavers 21. Nebraska Cornhuskers 20. Texas Longhorns 19. Louisville Cardinals 18. Baylor Bears 17. Michigan Wolverines 16. TCU Horned Frogs 15. Oklahoma Sooners 14. Clemson Tigers 13. Florida State Seminoles 12. LSU Tigers 11. Boise State Broncos 10. Florida Gators 9. Oklahoma State Cowboys