Georgia opens the 2020 season against Virginia in Atlanta. It hosts Auburn and Tennessee, two SEC teams who seem to be on the rise. It also makes a trip to Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Sept. 19 to take on Alabama in what is sure to be on the biggest games of the college football season.
But none of those games present as big an obstacle to Georgia possibly making to the College Football Playoff as the Oct. 31 game against Florida, according to ESPN’s Heather Dinich.
Dinich explains that the reason for having Florida as a greater obstacle than Alabama is that Georgia could withstand losing to Alabama on Sept. 19 and still realistically make the College Football Playoff.
But losing to Florida might mean that the Bulldogs don’t get a chance to play for the SEC title, which would drastically hurt the Bulldogs’ chances of getting into the College Football Playoff.
“Yes, the most difficult game on the schedule is the Sept. 19 trip to Alabama, but Georgia can lose and still have a chance to avenge the loss in the SEC championship — if it wins the East,” Dinich wrote. “And it’s not going to be as easy as the preseason predictions might lead you to believe.”
Both Georgia and Florida will likely open the season in the top-10, as the Bulldogs are No. 4 in ESPN’s most recent “Way-Too-Early Top-25” with Florida coming in at No. 7.
While the Bulldogs still have a talent edge against the Gators though, Florida doesn’t have to answer nearly as many questions on the offensive side of the ball. Georgia will be breaking in a new quarterback — likely Jamie Newman — and offensive coordinator in Todd Monken.
“Georgia has defeated its SEC East rival three straight seasons, but on paper, Florida might be more deserving of the label preseason favorite in its division,” Dinich wrote. “The Gators return 12 starters from last season’s 11-win team, including quarterback Kyle Trask.”
Florida also has an easier schedule than the Bulldogs, as the Gators only play one Power Five non-conference opponent in Florida State. The Gators also get LSU and Ole Miss out of the SEC West, with the LSU game being at home.
Georgia winning the SEC East would also be a historical feat, as the Florida Gators from 1992-96 are the only other team in the history of the SEC to win a division in four consecutive years, something Georgia will be aiming to do this coming season. In the brief history of the College Football Playoff, only 2016 Ohio State and 2017 Alabama have gotten to the College Football Playoff without winning their conference.
And Georgia hasn’t beaten the Gators in four-straight seasons since Ronald Reagen’s first term in office.
It should also be noted that though that the Gators were not mentioned as a possible playoff team in Dinich’s College Football Playoff preview piece. And for all the worry about Florida, Georgia figures to have one of the top defenses in the country — the Bulldogs are the only team this past season to hold Florida under 20 points — and signed the No. 1 recruiting class in the country.
The Bulldogs open the season on Sept. 7 against Virginia. The game will be played in Atlanta at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation
- Georgia sports round-up: Manny Diaz becomes winningest tennis coach in SEC history
- Highly anticipated Georgia football G-Day Game kick time announced
- Former Georgia football stars tab breakout players for 2020 team
- Georgia safety J.R. Reed finishes NFL combine on explosive note
- Gunner Stockton: Getting to know the elite 2022 QB who will ‘unleash hell’ on a football field
- Jake Fromm: NFL combine defensive stars offer views through different lens
- What we loved and hated to see about Georgia football in the month of February