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Kirby Smart gives quarterback Jake Fromm a pat on the helmet after his second touchdown run against Tennessee during the first half in a 41-0 shut out in a NCAA college football game on Saturday, September 30, 2017, in Knoxville.

Georgia football’s 2018 over/under win total set at 10.5

Cy Brown

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BetDSI releases 2018 SEC win totals

Offshore sportsbook BetDSI recently released its SEC over/under win totals for the 2018 regular season. Georgia’s is set at 10.5 wins, making the Bulldogs favorites to win the SEC East and return to Atlanta for the title game.

This projection roughly falls in line with ESPN’s Football Power Index, which pegs Georgia to win 10.9 games this season. It also backs up my own exceedingly unscientific look ahead to the 2018 season.

I took the over and picked Georgia to win 11 games. I wasn’t confident about it, though. I’m still not. Anything between 10 and 12 wins seems reasonable, with the most likely losses coming against a pair of SEC West teams, Auburn and LSU.

My biggest takeaway from this: The Dawgs are heavy favorites to repeat as SEC East champs. Other than Georgia, the highest projected win total in the East is 7.0 (South Carolina, Florida). That means there will probably be negligible difference between a 10-2 record and 12-0 record in the grand scheme. Both should get Georgia to the SEC Championship Game and squarely in position to make the College Football Playoff. Of course, a 12-0 regular season is a fantastic insurance policy should things not go Georgia’s way in Atlanta.

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Kirby Smart reacts to kickoff rule change

For those who may have missed it, last week the NCAA approved a rule change that will grant a touchback on any fair catch inside the 25-yard line on kickoffs. The change will start this season.

In theory, the change will result in less returns. Some teams will opt to call for a fair catch when a kick doesn’t reach the end zone instead of risking  coming up short of the 25. At the very least, it will take some adjustment. Return men aren’t used to calling for a fair catch on kickoffs. And that’s just half the equation. Kickers and kickoff units also will adjust their strategies with this change.

Chip Towers of DawgNation has a post on how this will affect Georgia’s special teams strategy, but he also touches on the underlying reason for the change. Player safety and head trauma in football has (rightfully) become a major talking point in recent years. By their very nature, kickoffs have a greater potential for full speed collisions than any play in football, making them an obvious starting point when trying to curb the number of potentially harmful impacts in a game. Georgia coach Kirby Smart acknowledged the dangers of kickoffs and said he has no problem with the rule change.

“It’s a dangerous play,” Smart said, according to Towers. “If you track kickoffs, the rules committee has statistics on it and will tell you, concussions are a little bit higher, there’s a few more injuries there. … You’ve got guys running 40 yards into each other. If they say it’s safer, I’m obviously in support of safety. I think anything you can do to make players safer it’s a wise decision.”

Dawgs in the NFL draft

The 2018 NFL Draft is less than two weeks away, and it figures to be a historic one for Georgia football. Here are a couple of pieces of UGA NFL draft news you may have missed Monday.

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