National media begins to question Georgia football as it preps for Auburn

Georgia Bulldogs tight end Brock Bowers (19) and wide receiver Dillon Bell (86) celebrate their 26-22 win against the Missouri Tigers in a NCAA Football game at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium, Saturday, October 1, 2022, in Columbia, Mo. (Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

The Georgia Bulldogs are coming off two less-than-impressive performances, beating Kent State and Missouri.

The Bulldogs dropped from the No. 1 spot in the AP Poll this week, falling behind Alabama. Yet despite the recent struggles, there is still a lot of external belief in the Bulldogs.

Georgia is a 30-point favorite against visiting Auburn this week. It’s the largest Georgia has been favored against a Power-5 team this season and one of the largest spreads in the history of the Deep South’s Oldest rivalry.

ESPN’s Bill Connelly does warn though that if the Bulldogs don’t start playing better as the competition improves, they could be tripped up.

“The fact that the Dawgs were able to dominate so thoroughly when they needed to suggests this is more of an attention span issue than anything else,” Connelly wrote. “But Missouri ranks 51st in SP+, Kent State 107th. Five of Georgia’s seven remaining regular-season opponents rank 43rd or better, and three are in the top 15. If the Dawgs keep having to rouse themselves into action, it’s going to backfire at some point.”

While the team has struggled in the red zone, and gave up a few too many big plays against Missouri, the individual outlook for this team is still quite high. Freshman defensive back Malaki Starks was named the No. 1 ranked freshman in the country. He’s grabbed two interceptions and is second on the team in tackles.

That Starks is doing this as a freshman on the No. 2 in the country makes his recent play all the more impressive.

“He plays like a veteran on a defense that lost five players in the first round of last year’s NFL draft,” Tom VanHaaren wrote. “He’s mature, and the game is not too big for him. At times he flashes his dominance. Starks has proven he can play any position in the secondary.”

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