The Georgia Bulldogs had a chance to do everything they wanted to do last season, but they weren’t in an ideal position to max out. Their quarterback was a freshman… and so was their head coach, first-year man Jacob Eason. The season started in a very encouraging way with a win against North Carolina, raising hopes that this team could hit a high ceiling, but the rest of the season didn’t turn out that way. The entirety of the season left the fan base wanting more, but this is the year when Georgia will be expected to do great things.
How Did They End 2016
The Bulldogs came up with a huge defensive effort to beat Auburn and had reason to feel very good about themselves, but they faltered in the fourth quarter and lost at home to rival Georgia Tech the next week, ending their 12-game regular season on a down note. The team had to settle for a lower-level postseason bid in the Liberty Bowl, but the Dawgs rebounded in the fourth quarter after a very sloppy start to beat TCU. This team was inconsistent and went through all sorts of fits and starts, which was natural in light of the youth of the team at key positions.
Receiver Isaiah McKenzie went to the NFL, leaving the passing game without a key contributor. Georgia has gone through many seasons with talented receivers, but a number of them have been prone to dropping passes and being inconsistent. McKenzie was one of the more reliable receivers Georgia had produced. The problem was that he didn’t have a lot of help in Georgia’s wide receiver corps last season. Pass catchers will be an important part of a Georgia offense which has all the weapons it needs in the running game but is less proven in the passing game. How the 2017 team adjusts to McKenzie’s loss will be a very important component of the season as it goes along.
Quarterback Jacob Eason will very likely offer the best measurement of how far this team goes. Georgia returns a lot of starters from 2016, especially in the offensive backfield, with Nick Chubb and Sony Michel both back for Eason to hand the ball to. Georgia could have the best running game in the country, so the quality of the offense – and to a large extent, the team itself – will depend on Eason’s ability to make sure that running game leads to play-action and big passing plays down the field. If Eason has a breakout season, Georgia can be everything its fans hope it will be… which is a national championship and SEC championship contender.
What To Expect From The Bulldogs This Year
Georgia is a big tease. The Bulldogs often have ample talent to make a big run, but they haven’t won the SEC championship since 2005. No one would be stunned if this hugely talented and very experienced team went 12-1 and won the SEC, but history suggests something bad will happen to derail UGA’s plans.
Record Last 5 Seasons
Schedule and Outlook
Georgia will ease into the schedule with an easy win against Appalachian State but it ramps up from there. They’ll get tested on the road in Week 2 at Notre Dame. The good news is that their division in the SEC is the weaker of the two, so if they can beat Florida and Auburn, they could end up winning the division. The Florida game is on a neutral site while the Auburn game is on the road. The good news for that Florida games is that they’ll have two weeks to prepare for it with a bye right before it.
The Florida and Auburn games will determine Georgia’s season. If the Bulldogs win both, they will win the SEC East. If they lose to Florida but beat Auburn, they could get a New Year’s Six bowl. If they lose both games, they will have a miserable season… even though they might still win nine games. This team wants to win at least 10 and ideally 12.
Regular Season Win Total Prediction: Over 8.5
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