The Dawgs enter 2012 with high hopes but big challenges ahead. Al Dannity looks at the prospects for Mark Richt’s charges this season.
The schedule There are three things to like about Georgia’s SEC slate. No Alabama, no LSU, no Arkansas. The Dawgs enter 2012 with one of the softest schedules in the conference. The Dawgs have four home games in September, including two in conference play. After kicking off the season against Buffalo, Georgia travels to Missouri before hosting Florida Atlantic, Vanderbilt, and Tennessee. October will provide a much tougher road with trips to South Carolina, Kentucky, and the Cocktail Party with Florida in Gainesville. Ole Miss visit on November 3 followed by a trip to Auburn. The Dawgs close the regular season with home dates against Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech.
The players There’s no Isaiah Crowell, the much hyped arrival who has since been booted from the program, but there’s plenty to like about the Dawgs in 2012. Aaron Murray leads an offense that returns 6 starters albeit only two linemen. On defense it’s a whole other story with the Dawgs looking stacked for another run at the SEC East. In all the Dawgs bring back 10 starters on defense, with Jarvis Jones and Bacarri Rambo likely to be the standout performers. One notable area of concern is special teams where the Dawgs will be breaking in a new punter and a new kicker.
The outlook That is about as appealing as slate as a coach could ask for in the SEC. The path to the conference title game could not be any smoother. Ole Miss and Kentucky are awful, UT is still in rebuilding mode, while Missouri, Vandy, and Auburn are good but flawed. The only landmine on this schedule is South Carolina. Unfortunately for the Dawgs it could be a big one. The Gamecocks are loaded and have the type of defense that could pulverise the Georgia line. This Georgia team has the talent to win every game they play. Believing they will win all of them is another story altogether. Richt comes in for a great deal of criticism but his teams always perform solidly. The only way the Dawgs make it to the BCS is by winning the SEC. That would probably involve beating one of Alabama or LSU in the title game. That looks too much for this outfit. The Dawgs however have the talent to go 10-2 or 11-1 and once again earn a shot at playing that game in Atlanta.
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