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Kirby Smart will be entering his third season as Georgia coach.

Three ESPN analysts pick Georgia to win national championship

Connor Riley

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ESPN experts pick Georgia to win it all

On Tuesday, ESPN released the College Football Playoff picks of 43 of its experts, ranging from the likes of Todd McShay to Lee Corso. And while Alabama and Clemson dominated everyones list, Georgia found its way onto more than a few ballots.

Of the 43 people polled, 13 experts picked the Bulldogs to make the College Football Playoff. The only schools who appeared on more ballots were Clemson, who was in everyones playoff, Alabama, who appeared on 40 ballots, Washington and Wisconsin.

Three experts picked Georgia to win it all this year as Bob Wischusen, Brock Huard and Mike Corey picked Georgia to come out on top. Some notable Georgia alums, DJ Shockley  and Olivia Dekker, picked Georgia to make the College Football Playoff but not to win the title.

All in all, the playoff picks felt very chalky. Clemson was the only ACC team to be pegged for the College Football Playoff. Only two people polled picked a Big 12 team to make the College Football Playoff, and one of those, via Cole Cubelic is West Virginia. Every ballot had at least one SEC team in the College Football Playoff and 11 had two SEC teams in the field. The only conference with more than three teams represented is the Big Ten, which had five different teams placed in the playoff field.

Some people will be right. Many people will be wrong. Hopefully we just get a fantastic season filled with upsets, great games and some great Georgia moments.

Multiple Bulldogs get paid

Two of the more recognizable Georgia alums in the sports world received contract extensions on Tuesday, as Maria Taylor re-upped with ESPN and Geno Atkins signed a new deal with the Cincinnati Bengals.

ESPN announced that Taylor had signed a new deal, though terms were not disclosed. Taylor first began working for ESPN and the SEC Network in 2014 and has since moved her way up to the College GameDay set, where she will be entering her second season.

“I have been blessed with so many opportunities to grow and evolve as a broadcaster and learn from so many incredible people,” Taylor said in a press release. “I am excited to start the next chapter of my career with my ESPN family, and to continue working with the players, coaches, and programs that I am incredibly passionate about.”

In addition to her college football duties, Taylor will also continue to cover men’s and women’s college basketball.

Atkins signed a 4-year deal that will pay him $65.3 million over the course of the deal. ESPN’s Adam Schefter dropped in an interesting note, stating that Atkins’ per year average salary of $16.3 million will be the highest of any non-quarterback over the age of 30. The former Georgia standout has spent his entire NFL career with the Bengals after he was drafted in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft.

The former Bulldog is a 6-time Pro Bowler and has made three All-Pro teams in that time. If he continues to produce at the level he has, Atkins could very much end up getting a bust in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Kirk Herbstreit is in on Kirby Smart and Georgia

Kirk Herbstreit is pretty much the voice of modern college football. Given his time on the College GameDay set and now in the broadcast booth, he’s seen more high-level college football than just about anybody.

And as Georgia prepares for its third season under Kirby Smart, Herbstreit really, really likes what he sees from Georgia.

“They are now a team regardless of who they lose, a team that most people will automatically put into the top five preseason [rankings],” Herbstreit told DawgNation team reporter Mike Griffith. “It’s a combination of what they did a year ago, and how they did it.”

Herbstreit also raved about Georgia again on the Paul Finebaum show, saying that he would buy stock in Georgia.

It’s a very exciting time to be a Georgia fan, especially when people like Herbstreit believe that the Bulldogs are only going to continue to get better and better.

Forum fodder

Today’s DawgNation forum topic that caught my eye was a post about who you would want to win the Auburn-Washington game. On the one hand, Auburn picking up a big conference should help them look more impressive and thus give Georgia a better quality of opponent and potential victory down the line. Georgia’s schedule isn’t loaded like some of the other teams and it is easy to see why some might fear that a weaker schedule might keep them out of the playoff(though I don’t think it will really matter). An Auburn win also really dings Washington’s chances of making the playoff, which could open up a second spot for an SEC team like say Georgia or Alabama come the end of the season.

On the other hand, when has a Georgia fan ever wanted something good to happen to Auburn? And personally, I think Washington is a team that will be going to the College Football Playoff and as someone who defends the PAC-12, it would be nice for them to not get left out of the playoff again.

So to answer the question, my head says Georgia should want Auburn to win but my heart wants Washington to beat Auburn and send the Tigers to a third straight loss in Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

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