Georgia football-national media-2021 season
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart during addresses the team during the Bulldogs’ practice Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021, in Athens. (Tony Walsh/UGA)
Tony Walsh

What the national media is saying about Georgia football entering the 2021 season

With the first slate of college football games taking place this weekend, a number of national media outlets have published their thoughts on the 2021 college football season.

Georgia once again enters the season with great expectations, as highlighted by the Bulldogs coming in as the No. 5 team in the AP Poll.

The Athletic’s Chris Vannini also had the Bulldogs ranked No. 5 in The Athletic’s ranking of all 130 teams in the country. A big reason Georgia ranks so highly in multiple polls this year, is because of quarterback JT Daniels.

“JT Daniels arrived at USC with pressure and had ups and downs. The pressure is even greater now at Georgia,” Vannini wrote. “If he plays the way he did at the end of last season, this could be Georgia’s chance to vault to the top of the rankings.”

Daniels threw 10 touchdowns to just two interceptions last year for Georgia. The Bulldogs went 4-0 in games started by Daniels, including a Peach Bowl win over Cincinnati.

Georgia has seen a number of its top pass catchers suffer injuries this offseason, putting even greater pressure on Daniels. Star wide receiver George Pickens, who was voted Preseason Second Team All-SEC by the league’s coaches this week, suffered a torn ACL in March that he is still recovering from.

This preseason also saw 5-star tight end Darnell Washington suffer a foot injury that will likely keep him out of Georgia’s season-opening game against the Clemson Tigers.

Related: How Georgia football tight end position went from a good problem to a big problem

ESPN’s Heather Dinich is another national media member who sees great potential in Georgia this season. While putting teams into tiers, Dinich had Georgia in the second tier in the sport, along with Texas A&M.

Those two teams face the big question of whether or not they can beat Alabama, who along with Clemson, Oklahoma and Ohio State occupy the top tier.

“Georgia doesn’t have to worry about Alabama during the regular season, but if it’s going to win a national title, Georgia will likely face Alabama in the SEC championship game -- and maybe even again in a CFP semifinal,” Dinich wrote. “It’s not impossible -- Georgia has led Alabama at halftime in each of the past three games under Smart. Alabama and Georgia have also both made the playoff before in the same season.”

Whether this is the year Georgia actually beats Alabama — something it hasn’t done since 2007 — will have to be played out on the field. After opening up against Clemson, Georgia is set to play just one ranked team on its schedule.

At least one prominent media member does have Georgia getting a crack at the top teams at the end of the season, as ESPN’s Mark Schlabach has Georgia making both the College Football Playoff and national championship game in his preseason bowl predictions.

The Bulldogs will get their first chance to validate all these lofty expectations starting on Sept. 4, when Georgia takes on Clemson. The game starts at 7:30 p.m. ET and will air on ABC.

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